Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has already been found liable in multiple defamation cases for spreading lies about families of those killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. A trial kicked off last week in Texas to determine how much he will have to pay plaintiffs in one of the cases.
Jones, however, made it clear Monday that he intends to use financial trickery to try to evade a harsh penalty.
Jones could be forced to pay $150 million or more in damages in the Texas case alone after he claimed the massacre was a “hoax” involving victims’ families. (Jones later acknowledged the shooting was real as lawsuits against him piled up.)
Some people on social media were gleeful Friday when reports revealed Jones had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for Free Speech Systems, the media company that owns his Infowars conspiracy theory empire. But others astutely saw this as a ploy to protect his finances from an impending verdict, and Jones all but confirmed that Monday on an episode of his podcast.
Ranting about the defamation suits, Jones said he plans to use bankruptcy filings to tie the families up in litigation for “years.”
In comments to The Texas Tribune on Saturday, Avi Moshenberg, a lawyer for Sandy Hook families suing Jones in Texas, called the bankruptcy filing “a stunt by Alex Jones to try to avoid facing justice."
Nonetheless, those families are "going to bring him to justice," Moshenberg said. "That is our goal. That is our mission, and we’re just not going to relent until that happens.”
Christopher Mattei, an attorney representing some Sandy Hook families in Connecticut, said Jones' plan to flee "like a coward to bankruptcy court" would ultimately fail. “These families have an endless well of patience and remain determined to hold Mr. Jones accountable in a Connecticut court,” Mattei added.
It’s no surprise Jones is trying to weasel out of these payments by using bankruptcy laws to his advantage. He previously tried to protect three of his lucrative businesses — Infowars, Prison Planet TV and Prison Planet TV — by filing for bankruptcy protection.
A federal judge dismissed the filings in June after Sandy Hook families suing Jones agreed to drop those three companies from their lawsuits. The latest filing just proves Jones’ shell games haven’t ended.
After years of talking tough to shooting victims and their families, he now finds himself in the fetal position, doing all he can to protect his ill-gotten gains.