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Alex Jones files for bankruptcy following $1 billion Sandy Hook verdicts

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, pictured in Washington last year.
Jon Cherry
/
Getty Images
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, pictured in Washington last year.

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has filed for bankruptcy, less than two months after a jury ordered him and his InfoWars parent company to pay nearly $1 billion to the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting.

Jones's bankruptcy petition, made in U.S. bankruptcy court in Houston on Friday, reported that Jones has between $1 million and $10 million in assets and between $1 billion and $10 billion in liabilities.

On his far-right conspiracy channel InfoWars, Alex Jones spent years repeating lies about the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn. He called it an "inside job" and a "government operation." He claimed that the 20 children and six adults killed there had not actually died and that first responders and grieving relatives were crisis actors.

A group of Sandy Hook families filed suit in 2018, saying that they had endured stalking, harassment and death threats as a result of Jones's lies. Another family sued in Texas later that year.

The verdicts from those two cases arrived earlier this year. In August, the Texas jury ordered Jones to pay $45.2 million. Then, in October, a jury in Connecticut awarded $965 million in compensatory damages to a group of eight Sandy Hook families; a judge later added $473 million in punitive damages. Jones has vowed to fight those verdicts in a lengthy appeals process.

Jones has recently claimed on his show that he only has about $2 million to his name. But he does business through a web of corporate entities, including the parent company of InfoWars, which filed for bankruptcy in July, about a week before the first verdict in Texas.

Evidence in that separate case has suggested Jones and his company Free Speech Systems have a combined net worth as high as $270 million, and that the company still brings in millions of dollars in revenue each month.

Throughout the legal proceedings, Jones used his broadcasts to ask for donations to help fight the lawsuits. A court filing from November showed that Free Speech Systems received nearly $3 million in donations through the first five months of 2022.

Jones's new bankruptcy filing covers his individual finances. He has filed under Chapter 11.

In his petition, he lists the largest claims against him: 16 Sandy Hook family members and an FBI agent who was among the first to enter the classrooms where the children were killed — along with $150,000 in credit card debt to American Express.

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Becky Sullivan has reported and produced for NPR since 2011 with a focus on hard news and breaking stories. She has been on the ground to cover natural disasters, disease outbreaks, elections and protests, delivering stories to both broadcast and digital platforms.