Infowars host Alex Jones files for personal bankruptcy

Infowars host Alex Jones filed for personal bankruptcy protection in Texas on Friday, citing debts that include nearly $1.5 billion he had to pay to families who sued him over his conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook school massacre.

Jones filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Houston. Its filing listed $1 billion to $10 billion in liabilities and $1 to $10 million in assets.

Jones confirmed the filing on his Infowars show, saying the case would prove he’s broke and asking viewers to shop his website to help keep the show on the air.

“Personally, I’m officially broke,” Jones said. “Everything will be invested. Everything will be public. And you will see that Alex Jones has almost no money.”

Jones, who sells nutritional supplements and other products on his Infowars website and promotes them on his shows, said he would not comment further on the bankruptcy.

In 2012, Jones described the massacre as a hoax. A Connecticut jury awarded the victims’ families $965 million in damages in Octoberand a judge later awarded another $473 million in punitive damages. Earlier this year, a Texas jury awarded $49 million in damages to the parents of a child killed in a shooting.

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The bankruptcy filing temporarily halted all proceedings in the Connecticut case. A judge was forced to cancel a hearing scheduled for Friday on a Sandy Hook family’s request to insure the assets of Jones and his company to help pay more than $1.4 billion in damages awarded there.

Chris Mattei, the attorney for the Sandy Hook family in the Connecticut case, criticized the bankruptcy filing.

“Like every other cowardly move by Alex Jones, this bankruptcy won’t work,” Mattei said in a statement. “The bankruptcy system does not protect anyone who engages in deliberate and brazen attacks on others, as Mr. Jones did. The American justice system will hold Alex Jones accountable and we will never stop working to uphold the jury’s verdict.”

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An attorney representing Jones in the bankruptcy case did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

In the Texas and Connecticut cases, some relatives of the 20 children and six adults killed in the school shooting testified that they had been threatened and harassed for years by people who believed the lies on Jones’ show. One parent testified that conspiracy theorists urinated on his 7-year-old son’s grave and threatened to dig up his coffin.

Erica Lafferty, daughter of slain Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, testified that people sent rape threats to her house.

Jones laughed while presenting the awards on his Infowars show and said he had less than $2 million to his name and wouldn’t be able to pay such high sums. Those comments contradicted testimony from a forensic economist at the Texas trial who said Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, had a combined net worth of as much as $270 million. Free Speech Systems is also seeking bankruptcy protection.

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In documents filed in July in the bankruptcy case of Free Speech Systems, Texas, the company’s budget for the period from Nov. 26 to Dec. 23 will total nearly $3 million in product sales, while operating expenses will total nearly $739,000. Jones’ salary is $20,000 every two weeks.

The families of Sandy Hook, in another lawsuit in Texas, alleged that Jones hid millions of dollars in assets after relatives of the victims began suing him in court. Jones’ attorney has denied the allegations.

A third trial over Jones’ comments about Sandy Hook is expected to begin in the next two months in Texas, in a lawsuit brought by the parents of another child killed in the shooting.

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Collins reported from Hartford, Connecticut, and Bleed reported from Little Rock, Arkansas. Associated Press writer Jake Bleiberg in Dallas contributed to this report.

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