Infowars agrees to end bankruptcy after Sandy Hook deal
Alex Jones’ Infowars and two of his other companies agreed to end their bankruptcy protection case in Texas, according to court documents filed Wednesday and Thursday, weeks after reaching a deal with Sandy Hook shooting victims’ families suing the conspiracy theorist for calling the massacre a hoax.
The families and the local U.S. trustee’s office — a Justice Department agency that oversees bankruptcy cases — had questioned the legitimacy of the bankruptcy filing and sought to throw out the case.
Lawyers for the families called the filing a delaying tactic that put their defamation lawsuits against Jones on hold — a claim his lawyers denied.
Infowars, Prison Planet TV and IW Health consented to dismissing the bankruptcy case after the Sandy Hook families agreed to drop the companies from their defamation lawsuits in Texas and Connecticut. Those lawsuits will continue against Jones himself and his largest money-making company, Free Speech Systems.
Trials are pending to determine how much Jones should pay the families, after judges in both states found him liable for damages to the families.
Jones, Infowars and others were sued by the families of eight of the victims and an FBI agent who responded to the school. The families said they have been subjected to harassment and death threats from Jones’ followers because of the hoax conspiracy. Jones has since said he believes the shooting did occur.
The families’ lawyers also have accused Jones of trying to hide millions of dollars in assets — also denied by Jones and called “ridiculous” by one of his lawyers. Infowars and the other two companies filed for bankruptcy protection only days before the first trial on damages was expected to begin in Texas. Jones is based in Austin, Texas.
In a court document filed Thursday, an attorney for Infowars said the three companies still have $140,000 in debts remaining that qualify for bankruptcy protection and are not related to the Sandy Hook lawsuits. The deal to end the bankruptcy case awaits a judge’s approval.
“The facts are that these chapter 11 cases were filed in good faith and would still serve a valid bankruptcy purpose,” Infowars lawyer Kyung Lee wrote in the document. “Nonetheless, the Debtors ... recognize that the dismissal is in the best interests of the Debtors and their estates because the U.S. Trustee continued opposition to the cases.”
When Infowars filed for bankruptcy protection in April, it listed assets of $50,000 or less and liabilities of $1 million to $10 million, with creditors including relatives of some of the 20 children and six educators killed in the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Christopher Mattei, a lawyer for the Sandy Hook families in Connecticut, said in a statement that the deal to end the bankruptcy “proves what we’ve said from the beginning: this bankruptcy was a sham attempt by Alex Jones to pit families against one another and avoid his reckoning with a jury. It didn’t work. We look forward to trial.”