Alex Jones can’t use bankruptcy to avoid paying Sandy Hook families, judge says

A judge ordered Alex Jones to pay $1.5 billion to the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting,

Martha McHardy
Friday 20 October 2023 16:15 BST
Key moments from Alex Jones defamation trial

Infowars host Alex Jones cannot use bankruptcy protection to avoid paying the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting, a judge has ruled.

Mr Jones was sued by the families of the 26 people killed in the 2012 massacre over his repeated promotion of a false theory that the shooting was a hoax.

A judge ordered Mr Jones to pay $1.5bn to the families, but the conspiracy theorist has so far failed to pay out any of the sum after he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year.

However, a Texas judge ruled on Thursday that bankruptcy protections do not apply over findings of “willful and malicious” conduct, so Mr Jones must pay the families.

“The families are pleased with the Court’s ruling that Jones’s malicious conduct will find no safe harbor in the bankruptcy court,” said Christopher Mattei, a Connecticut lawyer for the families. “As a result, Jones will continue to be accountable for his actions into the future regardless of his claimed bankruptcy.”

Mr Jones was sued after he repeated a conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook shooting never happened and accused the families of being actors on his flagship Infowars show. The families won a billion-dollar settlement against Mr Jones, who told his audience last year he was “officially out of money” and has asked them to shop on his Infowars website to help keep him on the air.

Infowars host Alex Jones cannot use bankruptcy protection to avoid paying Sandy Hook families

Recent financial documents submitted by his attorneys showed Mr Jones’ personal net worth is around $14m, and his monthly financial reports showed he spent more than $93,000 in the month of July, including $7,900 on housekeeping, and more than $6,300 for meals and entertaining.

The amount of money Mr Jones owes Sandy Hook families could grow even larger as he faces another lawsuit in Texas, brought by the parents of six-year-old Noah Pozner, one of the children who was killed in the massacre. A trial date has not yet been set.

Relatives of the victims testified at the trials about being harassed and threatened by Mr Jones’ believers, who sent threats and even confronted the grieving families in person, accusing them of being “crisis actors” whose children never existed.

Some 20 first graders and six educators were killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

The incident is the deadliest shooting at an elementary school in US history.

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