WATERBURY, CONNECTICUT - SEPTEMBER 21: InfoWars founder Alex Jones speaks to the media outside Water...
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Alex Jones Must Pay Sandy Hook Settlements Despite Filing For Bankruptcy

A Texas judge has ruled that Chapter 11 will not save him from owing nearly $1.5 billion to victims’ families.

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A U.S. District Judge in Texas has ruled that despite filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year, Infowars host Alex Jones is still responsible for paying more than $1 billion dollars to Sandy Hook families and first responders after losing multiple defamation suits in Connecticut and Texas. Judge Christopher Lopez of Houston issued the ruling on Oct. 19, noting that the protections do not apply regarding findings of “willful and malicious” conduct.

For nearly a decade, Jones repeated baseless claims that the shooting (and, by extension, the deaths of the victims) never happened and that the grieving families and first responders were hired actors complicit in a plot to take away people’s guns. His lies cost him $965 million in a Connecticut defamation suit filed by eight families of victims and now-retired FBI Agent William Aldenberg, and $49.3 million for similar damages filed by Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, the parents of Jesse Lewis.

Jones was not present as the jury delivered their ruling in Connecticut’s Waterbury Superior Court in October of 2022, but reacted to the news in real time on his show. He described the proceedings as a “show trial” and “kangaroo court.” He further alleged, during his reaction that there “ain’t no money” to pay this sum. (He went on to ask his audience to donate money to “fight this fraud.”) While experts testified that, indeed, Jones’ wealth is not enough to be able to pay the more than $1 billion he has been ordered to pay in various suits, the plaintiffs also allege that Jones has downplayed his assets, fabricated debt, and moved assets in order to avoid avoid compensating families.

Jones, who has promoted conspiracy theories about Sandy Hook for nearly a decade and referred to victims and their families as actors, has attempted to categorize the defamation trial as an attack on his free speech. Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Sums were awarded to each plaintiff in the Connecticut case range from $120 million to $28.8 million. For weeks, victims of Jones’ slander testified how the radio host’s conspiracy theories, and the listeners who believed him, have caused them pain and harm over the years, ranging from emotional distress caused by hateful emails and messages online, pictures of dead children sent in the mail, in-person confrontations (including at their own homes), desecration of their children’s graves, and threats to their physical safety. Alissa Parker, mother of Emilie Parker, 6, testified to threats she began receiving just days after her daughter’s murder, prompting the family to have a closed-casket funeral for fear someone would photograph their child’s body and use it to promote further conspiracy theories. Erica Lafferty, daughter of school principal Dawn Hochsprung, testified to rape threats she received over the years.

Jones filed Chapter 11 in December of 2022 claiming that he possessed between $1 and $10 million in assets at the time. Not only was this number found to be lower than Jones claimed (he was found to have a net worth of approximately $14 million), but the Associated Press reports that his spending in July of 2023 alone topped $93,000, including thousands on meals and entertainment.

“It is disturbing that Alex Jones continues to spend money on excessive household expenditures and his extravagant lifestyle when that money rightfully belongs to the families he spent years tormenting,” said Christopher Mattei, a Connecticut lawyer for the families at the time.

In the wake of her son Dylan’s murder, Hockley founded Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit dedicated to preventing gun violence.MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images/MediaNews Group/Getty Images

However, Robbie Parker, father of Emilie, said during a press conference after the Connecticut ruling that actually receiving financial compensation is not the most important aspect of this trial. “What we got out of [the trial and verdict] meant more than anything anybody could ever give us.”

“Going forward,” said William Sherlach, widower of Sandy Hook’s school psychiatrist Mary Sherlach, “because unfortunately there will be other horrific events like this, people like Alex Jones will rethink what they say.”

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