14 June 2024

Judge rules Alex Jones’ assets to be sold to help pay Sandy Hook debt

14 June 2024

A judge on Friday ordered the liquidation of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ personal assets but dismissed his company’s separate bankruptcy case.

The decision still leaves the future of his Infowars media platform unclear, as Jones owes 1.5 billion dollars (£1.18 billion) for his false claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax.

Twenty children aged six and seven were among 26 people killed in the school shooting in Connecticut in 2012.

Judge Christopher Lopez approved converting Jones’ proposed personal bankruptcy reorganisation to a liquidation, but threw out the attempted reorganisation of his company, Austin, Texas-based Free Speech Systems.

Many of the Sandy Hook families had asked that the company also be liquidated.

Free Speech Systems is Infowars’ parent company.

Many of Jones’ personal assets will be sold off, but he is expected to keep his primary home in the Austin, Texas area and some other belongings that are exempt from bankruptcy liquidation.

He already has moved to sell his Texas ranch worth about 2.8 million dollars (£2.2 million), a gun collection and other assets to help pay debts.

Jones did not have any real reaction after the judge issued the order about his personal assets.

He has been telling his web viewers and radio listeners that Infowars’ parent company, Free Speech Systems, is on the verge of being shut down because of the bankruptcy. A headline on Infowars’ website on Friday said: “Watch Live! Will This Be The Final Day Of Infowars Transmissions?”

“This is probably the end of Infowars here very, very soon. If not today, in the next few weeks or months,” Jones told reporters before the hearing began. “But it’s just the beginning of my fight against tyranny.”

Jones has been urging his followers to download videos from his online archive to preserve them and pointing them to a new website of his father’s company if they want to continue buying the dietary supplements he sells on his show.

Jones has about nine million dollars (£7.1 million) in personal assets, according to the most recent financial filings in court. Free Speech Systems has about six million dollars (£4.7 million) in cash on hand and about 1.2 million-dollars worth of inventory (£0.9 million), according to J Patrick Magill, the chief restructuring officer appointed by the court to run the company during the bankruptcy.

Jones and Free Speech Systems filed for bankruptcy protection in 2022, when relatives of many victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, won lawsuit judgments of more than 1.4 billion dollars (£1.1 billion) in Connecticut and 49 million dollars (£38.7 million) in Texas.

The relatives said they were traumatised by Jones’ comments and his followers’ actions.

They testified about being harassed and threatened by Jones’ believers, some of whom confronted the grieving families in person saying the shooting never happened and their children never existed. One parent said someone threatened to dig up his dead son’s grave.

Jones and Free Speech Systems initially filed for bankruptcy reorganisation protection that would have allowed him to run Infowars while paying the families with revenues from his show. But the two sides could not agree on a final plan, and Jones recently filed for permission to switch his personal bankruptcy from a reorganisation to a liquidation.

Although he has since acknowledged that the Sandy Hook shooting happened, Jones has been saying on his recent shows that Democrats and the “deep state” are conspiring to shut down his companies and take away his free speech rights because of his views.

He also has said the Sandy Hook families are being used as pawns in the conspiracy. The families’ lawyers say that is nonsense.

According to the most recent financial statements filed in the bankruptcy court, Jones listed his living expenses at about 69,000 dollars (£54,500) for April alone, including about 16,500 dollars (£13,000) for expenses on his home.

Free Speech Systems, which employs 44 people, made nearly 3.2 million dollars (£2.5 million) in April, including from selling the dietary supplements, clothing and other items that Jones promotes on his show, while listing 1.9 million dollars (£1.5 million) in expenses.

The families have a pending lawsuit in Texas accusing Jones of illegally diverting and hiding millions of dollars. Jones has denied the allegations.

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