Alex Jones’ personal assets will be sold to pay off Sandy Hook’s $1.5 billion debt. Company Bankruptcy Dropped – KXAN Austin

HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge on Friday ordered the liquidation of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ personal assets, but dismissed his company’s separate bankruptcy filing, leaving the immediate future of his Infowars media platform uncertain as he must $1.5 billion for his false claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax.

Judge Christopher Lopez approved the conversion of Jones’ proposed personal bankruptcy reorganization to liquidation. But Lopez dismissed the case of his company, Austin, Texas-based Free Speech Systems, after Jones’ failed attempts to reach an agreement with the Sandy Hook families over his proposed reorganization and continued operation of the company while paying them millions of dollars.

It was not immediately clear what would happen in the coming weeks to Free Speech Systems, the parent company of Infowars, which Jones built into a multimillion-dollar revenue generator over the past 25 years by selling dietary supplements and other products. But Jones and attorneys for the Sandy Hook families have said they expect Infowars to cease operations at some point because of the enormous debt.

A trustee named Friday in Jones’ personal bankruptcy case to oversee the liquidation now has control of his assets, including Infowars, according to attorneys for the Sandy Hook families.

The dismissal of the Free Speech Systems case means the families can now move immediately to recover the $1.5 billion in state courts in Texas and Connecticut, where they won defamation cases against Jones and the company. It is possible that Infowars will continue to operate during collection efforts, which could include the sale of the company’s assets.

Jones, who smiled when the judge threw out the company’s case, called Infowars after the court heard and predicted more battles in state courts. “Bizarre political attempts to hijack the operation have failed,” he said, adding that he would find another way to broadcast his shows if he lost Infowars.

Outside the courthouse, he denounced the fact that the families did not accept his reorganization proposals and alleged that they were being used by political groups in an attempt to silence him. He said he would try to maximize Infowars’ revenue to make money for creditors and then close the business in a way that would take care of its 44 employees.

“It’s about taking me off the air,” Jones said. “Understand that what you saw in the mainstream media about me, or what I said about Sandy Hook or any of that, has no bearing on reality.”

Chris Mattei, an attorney for the Sandy Hook families, called Infowars “soon to be gone” as his clients prepare to collect their debt in state courts. He said the families would also seek to collect on Jones’ future income.

“Today is a good day,” Mattei said in a text message after the hearing. “Alex Jones has lost ownership of Infowars, the corrupt company he has used for years to attack Connecticut families and many others. …Alex Jones is neither a martyr nor a victim. He is the author of the worst defamation in American history.

Lopez had been asked to convert Free Speech Systems’ bankruptcy reorganization to liquidation or dismiss the case. He said his only concern was what would be best for the company and its creditors. He also said the Free Speech Systems case appeared to be one of the oldest of its kind in the country and that the deadline to resolve it was approaching.

“I have never been asked today to make the decision whether or not to stop a show. That would never happen today, one way or another,” Lopez said. “This case is one of the most difficult cases I have had. When you look at it, I think creditors are best served when they pursue their rights in state courts.

Many of Jones’ personal assets will be sold, but his primary residence in the Austin area and some other assets are exempt from bankruptcy liquidation. He has already decided to sell his Texas ranch worth around $2.8 million, a gun collection and other assets to pay off his debts.

Before Friday’s hearing, Jones told his Internet and radio listeners that Free Speech Systems was on the verge of being shut down due to bankruptcy. He urged them to download videos from his online archives for preservation and directed them to a new website for his father’s company if they wanted to continue buying the dietary supplements he sells on his show.

Jones has approximately $9 million in personal assets, according to the most recent financial documents filed in court. Free Speech Systems has about $6 million in cash and about $1.2 million in inventory, according to J. Patrick Magill, the court-appointed restructuring manager to run the company through bankruptcy.

During Friday’s hearing, attorneys for the Sandy Hook families reiterated their claims that Jones illegally embezzled millions of dollars before and during the bankruptcies, and questioned whether he sent his hearing on his father’s website. The families have a pending lawsuit in Texas accusing Jones of illegally embezzling money, which he denies, and have said they will continue their efforts to get it back.

Jones and Free Speech Systems for bankruptcy protection in 2022, when relatives of many victims of the 2012 school shooting that killed 20 first-graders and six educators in Newtown, Conn., won judgments more than $1.4 billion in Connecticut and $49 million in Texas. .

Relatives said they were traumatized by Jones’ comments and the actions of his supporters. They testified to being harassed and threatened by Jones’ supporters, some of whom confronted grieving families in person, claiming the shooting never happened and their children never existed. A parent said someone threatened to dig up her deceased son’s grave.

Jones is appealing the state court rulings.

Families involved in the Connecticut lawsuit, including relatives of eight deceased children and adults, had requested that Free Speech Systems’ bankruptcy case also be converted to liquidation. But the parents in the Texas lawsuit — whose child, Jesse Lewis, 6, died — wanted the company’s case dismissed, saying it would speed up recovery of Jones’ debt to them.

The company’s lawyers filed documents indicating it supported liquidation, but attorneys for Jones’ personal bankruptcy case wanted the judge to throw out the company’s case.


Collins reported from Hartford, Connecticut.

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