Infowars host Alex Jones filed for personal bankruptcy protection in Texas on Friday, citing debts including nearly $1.5 billion he was ordered to pay to the families who are suing him over his conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook school massacre.
Jones filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Houston. His filing lists liabilities of $1 billion to $10 billion and assets of $1 million to $10 million.
Jones acknowledged the filing during his Infowars broadcast, saying the case would prove he was bankrupt and asking viewers to shop on his website to help keep the show on the air.
“I’m officially out of money personally,” Jones said. “It’s all going to be filed. It’s going to be public. You’re going to see that Alex Jones has almost no cash.”
Jones, who sells dietary supplements and other merchandise on his Infowars website and promotes them on his show, said he would not comment further on the bankruptcy.
For years, Jones has described the 2012 massacre as a hoax.Connecticut jury awards $965 million in damages to victims’ families in Octoberthe judge later awarded an additional $473 million in terms of punitive damages. Earlier this year, a Texas jury awarded $49 million to the parents of a child killed in a shooting.
The bankruptcy filing temporarily halted all proceedings in the Connecticut case. A judge was forced to cancel a hearing scheduled for Friday to ask the Sandy Hook family to seek protection of Jones and his company’s assets to help pay more than $1.4 billion in damages awarded there.
Chris Mattay, an attorney for the Sandy Hook family in the Connecticut case, criticized the bankruptcy filing.
“Like other cowardly moves by Alex Jones, this bankruptcy will not work,” Mattei said in a statement. “The bankruptcy system will not protect anyone who commits willful and egregious attacks on others the way Mr. Jones did. The American justice system will hold Alex Jones accountable, and we will never stop enforcing the jury verdict.”
Attorneys representing Jones in the bankruptcy case did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
In the cases in Texas and Connecticut, some relatives of 20 children and six adults killed in the school shootings testified that they had been threatened and harassed for years by people who believed the lies on Jones’ show.A parent testified that conspiracy theorists urinated on his 7-year-old son’s grave and threatened to dig up his coffin.
Erica Lafferty, daughter of slain Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, testifies People mailed rape threats to her house.
Jones scoffed at the awards on his Infowars show, saying he had less than $2 million to his name and couldn’t afford to pay that much. Those comments contradicted the testimony of a forensic economist at the Texas trial, who said Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, had a combined net worth of $270 million. Free Speech Systems is also seeking bankruptcy protection.
In Texas Free Speech Systems’ bankruptcy filings in July, the company’s Nov. 26-Dec. 23 budget estimated product sales of nearly $3 million and operating expenses of nearly $739,000. Jones’ salary is $20,000 a fortnight.
In a separate lawsuit in Texas, Sandy Hook’s family alleges that Jones hid millions of dollars in assets after the victims’ relatives began taking him to court. Jones’ attorney has denied the allegation.
A third trial over Jones’ comments at Sandy Hook is expected to begin in Texas within the next two months, brought by the parents of another child killed in the shooting.
Collins reported from Hartford, Connecticut, and Bleeding from Little Rock, Arkansas. Associated Press writer Jake Bleiberg in Dallas contributed to this report.