Far-right conspiracy podcaster Alex Jones beamed at his program on how his latest bankruptcy settlement would reduce defamation damages Sandy Hook families and even fixes the reduced amounts for ‘years’.
Jones signed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing Friday over shield the parent company of Infowars podcast, Free Speech Systems LLC, his co-defendant in two defamation cases. Infowars reportedly Raised $65 Million in Revenue last year.
Jones was charged with defamation last year in Connecticut and Texas cases for repeatedly insisting that the 20 first-class children killed in a 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut — and their devastated parents — were actors in a fake anti-gun stunt staged by the United States Government. (Six adults were also killed.)
The lawsuit in Texas, where Infowars is based, is currently being held to determine how much damages Jones must pay.
Jones tried – and was forced to fall — a similar ploy earlier this year when he filed for bankruptcy for Infowars and for trademark and web domain rights holding companies in an attempt to force a restrictive monetary settlement with the Sandy Hook families.
Jones claimed on his podcast Sunday that his current bankruptcy filing would lower the bail he’ll have to post for appealing only half of his (declared) assets – and then he still plans to tie the damages decided within that reduced amount “for years” if his Infowars podcast continues to work. He also claimed “we have never lied” and that “all we have is our credibility.”
Jones’ money plan was played out during dramatic testimony about the pain and suffering of the Sandy Hook families, who not only struggle with the loss of their children in a mass shooting but are also forced to be harassed and threatened with death by the rampaging Jones supporters, who are armed by his lies.
Parents of the dead children suffer from both post-traumatic stress disorder and constant fear that Jones’ followers will kill thema psychiatrist testified Monday at Jones’ Austin, Texas, defamation trial.
“The overwhelming cause of their pain is what Jones does,” said Roy Lubit, a forensic psychiatrist hired by the plaintiffs.
Lubit pointed to the experience of Plaintiffs Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewiswho lost their 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, in the massacre.
Heslin has been accosted on the street and Lewis has surveillance equipment installed and is sleeping with a gun, knife and pepper spray by her bedside.
Families are not afraid to fight, despite Jones’ latest bankruptcy plot, their lawyers said.
Jones “has again” fled like a coward to bankruptcy court in a transparent effort to delay confronting the families he has hurt for years,” Connecticut attorney Chris Matei said in a statement.
But lawyers raised concerns in court Monday at a bankruptcy filing hearing about the structure of Jones’ latest move — and his timing.
Free Speech Systems seeks a special kind of bankruptcy protection that: enables small businesses to accelerate insolvencyBloomberg reported. It is generally aimed at companies that owe less than $7.5 million. Infowars’ parent claims more than $50 million in debt, much of which is due to PQPR Holdings, owned by Alex Jonesaccording to yet another lawsuit against Jones.
“There are a lot of red flags around this bankruptcy,” Avi Moshenberg, an attorney involved in a fraudulent transfer case against Jones and Infowars in Texas, said during the Chapter 11 hearing. “This is hardly a small business.”
Alinor Sterling, a lawyer representing Sandy Hook’s families in one of the defamation cases, expressed “serious concerns” at the hearing “based on the discovery in Connecticut that Alex Jones has systematically withdrawn large amounts of money from Free Speech Systems.”
In its bankruptcy filing, as of May 31, Free Speech Systems listed $14.3 million in assets, including nearly $1.16 million in cash and nearly $1.6 million in property and equipment. The Associated Press reported. It also claimed $79 million in liabilities, with $54 million in debt owed to PQPR Holdings.
In addition to the significant annual Infowars revenue, Jones has been the beneficiary of a secret cryptocurrency angel, who handed over about $6 million to the coin in May for a total of nearly $8 million in cryptocurrency in less than a month, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported.
Jones will then face a jury in Connecticut in September to determine the damage in that case. The jury selection started this week.
Jones, who has ties to extremist groups behind the January 6, 2021 storming of the US Capitol, is also the focus of researchers for its role in planning events prior to the violence.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.