HOUSTON — A federal bankruptcy judge ruled on Monday, but families could yet go against Alex Jones over the nearly $1.5 billion they were ordered to pay to the families of Sandy Hook victims because of conspiracy theories about the 2012 school massacre. Infowars server.
Judge Christopher Lopez upheld an order that Jones’ lawyers, the media company, and the Sandy Hook families all agreed to. The order lifts a stop that automatically stops lawsuits when Jones files for bankruptcy. Jones’ media company, Free Speech Systems, is also seeking bankruptcy protection.
Lopez upheld the ruling that prevented the families from continuing their recovery efforts during the hour-and-a-half hearing that Jones attended remotely.
Jones filed for Chapter 11 personal bankruptcy protection in Texas earlier this month, suggesting between $1 billion and $10 billion in debt and $1 million to $10 million in assets.
Jones has described the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre as a hoax for years. In October, a Connecticut jury awarded the victims’ families $965 million in damages, and a judge later determined a further $473 million in punitive damages. Earlier in the year, a Texas jury awarded $49 million in damages to the parents of a child killed in the shooting.
Jones laughed at the awards on the Infowars show, saying he has less than $2 million to his name and cannot afford to pay such high sums. These comments contradicted the testimony of a forensic economist at the Texas trial who said that Jones and Free Speech Systems have a combined net worth of as high as $270 million.
According to documents filed in July in Free Speech Systems’ bankruptcy case in Texas, the company’s budget from November 26 to December 23 is estimated to be approximately $3 million in product sales and approximately $739,000 in operating expenses. Jones’ salary is listed as $20,000 fortnightly.
Lopez on Monday delayed a motion by Jones’ lawyers to compel Free Speech Systems to pay the $1.3 million listed under his contract, which would amount to about $54,000 biweekly. Lopez said she will address the issue at a hearing next month.
The Sandy Hook families claimed in another lawsuit in Texas that Jones hid millions of dollars in assets after relatives of the victims began taking him to court. Jones’ lawyer denied the allegation.
A third hearing over Jones’ comments about Sandy Hook is expected to begin in the next two months in a lawsuit filed in Texas by the parents of another child who died in the gunfight.