Lawyers for Sandy Hook parents who successfully sued Donald Trump ally Alex Jones for his relentless lies about the mass killing are blasting him for now trying to use bankruptcy protection laws to dodge paying defamation damages.
“Just two days before jury selection is due to begin in Connecticut, Mr. Jones has once again fled like a coward to bankruptcy court in a transparent attempt to delay facing the families that he has spent years hurting,” Chris Matei, a lawyer for the families, said in a statement.
The extremist right-wing podcaster was found liable for defamation last year for repeatedly insisting that the 20 first-grade children (and six adults) killed in a mass shooting at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 — and their devastated parents — were acting as part of a fake anti-gun stunt staged by the U.S. government.
On top of the excruciating tragedy, families were then forced to deal with harassment and death threats from Jones’ unleashed fans.
A trial to determine damages began last week in a defamation case in Texas, where Infowars is located, and another begins this week in Connecticut. Last Friday, Jones suddenly declared bankruptcy for Infowars’ parent company. He signed a Chapter 11 petition to protect Infowars parent Free Speech Systems LLC, his co-defendant in both defamation cases.
Jones attempted — and dropped — a similar ploy earlier this year when he declared bankruptcy for Infowars and trademark and web-domain rights holding companies in a bid to force a restrictive monetary settlement with the Sandy Hook families.
Infowars reportedly rakes in $50 million a year peddling diet supplements, conspiracy videos and books, and body armor.
Free Speech Systems on Friday requested court approval to use its cash to pay its 58 workers and keep producing “The Alex Jones Show” at its Austin, Texas, studios —and continue to sell the dietary supplements that bring in most of the company revenue.
Cordt Akers, a lawyer for the Texas plaintiffs suing Jones, told The Wall Street Journal that the “obviously planned” bankruptcy filing was as “bogus as when he tried to play this same game three months ago.”
The Sandy Hook families have no intention of giving up the battle.
“These families have an endless well of patience and remain determined to hold Mr. Jones accountable in a Connecticut court,” noted Matei.
Testimony concerning Jones’ callous lies about the Sandy Hook tragedy has been devastating.
Rob Jacobson revealed to the jury in a videotaped deposition in the Austin hearing on Friday that he felt “complicit” even though he wasn’t directly involved in the lies. He said he told writers and staff at the outlet that they were violating journalistic ethics.
“When [Sandy Hook] would come on the screen, I would make it my business to go in to the writers and explain to them as clearly as possible ... what those ethics are and why they are violating them and what the damage could possibly be,” Jacobson said.
He said the response was “laughter and jokes.”
Jones, who is linked to extremist groups behind the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6 last year, has been of focus of investigators for his role in planning events preceding the violence.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the year of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.