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Infowars and two associated companies, IWHealth and Prison Planet TV affiliated with prominent far-right founder and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday. This has effectively placed civil litigations on hold.
Jones, the founder of Infowars, has faced a multitude of defamation lawsuits in regard to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings. He spread false theories that the shooting was a part of a grander government conspiracy.
Jones was found liable by a Connecticut judge in November of last year. The lawyer representing the families in the Connecticut lawsuit, Christopher Mattei stated, “Alex Jones is just delaying the inevitable: a public trial in which he will be held accountable for his profit-driven campaign of lies against the Sandy Hook families who have brought this lawsuit.”
The plaintiffs, in this case, are the families of the victims of the 20 first-graders and six educators. Some of the plaintiffs claim they were harassed and subjected to death threats by Jone’s followers.
The parents of one of the victims, 6-year-old Noah Ponzer, also faced harassment, threats, and invasions of privacy. They were forced to relocate numerous times due to harassment and have to live in secret.
In June of 2017, a 57-year-old Floridian was sentenced to five months in prison for making death threats against the Ponzer family.
Since then, Jones has finally admitted to the shooting happening. The families continue to maintain that he profited from spreading misinformation pertaining to the murders of their family members.
With the families of the victims winning defamation lawsuits against Alex Jones. He was cited by the judge for refusing to follow court rulings.
Jones failed to provide records to prove his declarations to the court. In March, Jones was found to be in contempt of court for his failure in being able to sit for a deposition.
He was ordered a fine of $25,000 for the first weekday that he failed to appear, with the fine steadily increasing to $25,000 every single day afterward if he continues to not appear. He claimed he missed the meeting because he was sick. Initially, his doctors believed there was a more serious health concern but later they determined he had a sinus infection. Judge Barbara said there was not sufficient evidence in order to prove that Jones was too ill to miss deposition. When he finally showed up for a rescheduled deposition, Jones paid the fines he owed for missing depositions.
Other companies, such as gun manufacturer Remington, have also been sued by the families of Sandy Hook. Remington manufactures AR-15-styled rifles such as the one used in the school shooting. Remington filed for bankruptcy twice with a second case filed in 2020, selling off its assets. These bankruptcy filings delayed the 2020 proceedings for an entire year in a Connecticut lawsuit. Seeking damages on how the company promoted their rifles in marketing. In February the families of 9 victims agreed to a settlement of $73 million.
Written by Skye Leon
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
The New York Times: Alex Jones’s Infowars Files for Bankruptcy; by Derrick Bryson Taylor
The New York Times: This Company Keeps Lies About Sandy Hook on the Web; by Sapna Maheshwari and John Herrman
Associated Press: EXPLAINER: What does Infowars’ bankruptcy filing mean? By PAUL J. WEBER and DAVE COLLINS
Associated Press: Alex Jones liable for defamation in Sandy Hook ‘hoax’ case; by DAVE COLLINS
CBS NEWS: Alex Jones’ Infowars files for bankruptcy in wake of defamation suits over his assertions that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Tyler Merbler’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Jernej Furman Flickr Page – Creative Commons License