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Infowars’ Alex Jones files for bankruptcy in face of Sandy Hook lawsuits

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Alex Jones speaks to reporters in Washington.

Alex Jones speaks to reporters in Washington, Sept. 5, 2018. Infowars filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday, April 17, 2022, in Texas as its founder and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones faces defamation lawsuits over his comments that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax.

Jose Luis Magana, Associated Press

Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections on Sunday for three companies he oversees, including Infowars, as he faces millions of dollars in potential legal penalties for his false claims that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was a hoax.

The news: In its court filing, Infowars said it had estimated assets of $50,000 or less and estimated liabilities of $1 million to $10 million. Creditors listed in the bankruptcy filing include relatives of some of the 20 children and six educators killed in the 2012 school shooting in Connecticut, according to the Associated Press.

The plaintiffs in that case have said they have been subjected to harassment and death threats from Jones’ followers because of the hoax conspiracy that Jones promoted, AP reported. Jones has since conceded the shooting did happen. The families have already won defamation lawsuits against Jones.

Walking it back: CNN reported Monday Jones baselessly said in the aftermath of the shooting, in which 26 people were killed, that the incident was staged. Facing lawsuits, Jones has since acknowledged the shooting occurred. He said in a 2019 sworn deposition that a “form of psychosis” caused him at the time to believe it was staged, per CNN.

Christopher Mattei, an attorney representing some of the Sandy Hook families in a Connecticut lawsuit, said Monday that Jones will ultimately face the music for his actions, despite his attempt to delay the civil case.

“Alex Jones is just delaying the inevitable: a public trial in which he will be held accountable for his profit-driven campaign of lies against the Sandy Hook families who have brought this lawsuit,” Mattei told CNN.

How much will it cost Jones?: BBC News reports Jones had offered to pay $120,000 to each of the 13 people involved in the lawsuits, but they rejected that offer last month.

“The so-called offer is a transparent and desperate attempt by Alex Jones to escape a public reckoning under oath with his deceitful, profit-driven campaign against the plaintiffs and the memory of their loved ones lost at Sandy Hook,” the families said in court filings, the BBC reported.

BBC also notes Jones has been banned by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in recent years for hate speech and abusive behavior.

What’s next?: While Jones’ lawyer did not immediately return AP’s request for comment, the bankruptcy filing puts other litigation on hold as financial matters are resolved. Another lawsuit, filed earlier this month, accuses Jones of hiding millions of dollars in assets, per AP.

“After Alex Jones was sued for claiming the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary was a hoax, the infamous conspiracy theorist conspired to divert his assets to shell companies owned by insiders like his parents, his children, and himself,” reads the lawsuit, which was filed in Austin, Texas, by some of the Sandy Hook families.