Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, on the hook for more than $1 billion because of lies he spread about the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, filed for personal bankruptcy, court documents showed Friday.
In seeking Chapter 11 protection, the Infowars host filed boilerplate bankruptcy documents in Texas, claiming he was worth $1 million to $10 million and had debts of $1 billion to $10 billion.
The filing comes weeks after a Connecticut jury ordered him to pay $965 million to the families of eight Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims and an FBI agent who responded to the attack for the suffering he caused them by spreading lies on his platforms about the mass shooting.
Connecticut Judge Barbara Bellis later imposed punitive damages of $473 million for promoting those false conspiracy theories about Sandy Hook, bringing the bill to a staggering $1.44 billion.
Chris Mattei, an attorney for Sandy Hook families in that Connecticut lawsuit, said Jones will not escape monetary judgment.
“Like every other cowardly move Alex Jones has made, this bankruptcy will not work,” Mattei said in a statement.
“The bankruptcy system does not protect anyone who engages in intentional and egregious attacks on others, as Mr. Jones did. The American judicial system will hold Alex Jones accountable, and we will never stop working to enforce the jury’s verdict.”
The personal bankruptcy filing fell into the Houston courtroom of Judge Christopher M. López.
If Jones’ hopes to have the civil awards against him discharged, he will have to convince López that he’s not responsible for having inflicted a “willful and malicious injury,” according to bankruptcy codes.
“The judge may or may not rule that the claims are (eligible to be) discharged,” said Frances Smith, chairwoman of the Texas State Bar’s Bankruptcy Law Section.
“You have to be very careful when you’re dealing with statutes. But the language of the statute is for ‘willful and malicious injury by the debtor.’ The judge may find that it’s not dischargeable.”
Earlier this year, a civil jury in Texas awarded the parents of a child killed at Sandy Hook $49.3 million in damages.
In addition to this personal bankruptcy petition, Jones’ company, Free Speech Systems Inc., filed for protection against creditors back in July.
After years of denial, Jones recently said the Sandy Hook massacre was real — in contrast to previous claims that the shooting was a hoax pulled off by actors as part of a plot to seize Americans’ guns.
In one of the nation’s most notorious mass killings, Adam Lanza on Dec. 14, 2012, murdered his mother at their Newtown home before going to the school and killing 20 children and six adults.
Lanza died from a self-inflicted wound.
Chelsea Damberg contributed.