NEWTOWN – The most significant fact about three bankruptcy filings of businesses controlled by Alex Jones as it concerns the Sandy Hook families awaiting jury trials to determine defamation damages may be that Jones himself did not file for bankruptcy.
That means that the first defamation damages trial set to begin on April 25 in Texas for the parents of a boy slain in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre may go on as scheduled.
“It’s up to the bankruptcy court, especially as it concerns non-debtor entities,” said the parents’ attorney Mark Bankston. “Maybe, maybe not.”
Bankston is referring to Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings of three Jones-controlled entities – InfoWars, IWHealth, and Prison Planet TV. Significantly, Jones himself and another one of his business entities, Free Speech Systems, did not file for bankruptcy protection in Texas Western Bankruptcy Court, records show.
“None of Mr. Jones’ ridiculous tricks have worked in the past, and this one will fare no better,” Bankston said on Monday.
Jones’ attorneys in Texas and Connecticut did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
The bankruptcy filings are the latest development concerning Jones and Sandy Hook families that won three defamation cases against him last year for calling the massacre of 26 first-graders and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School “staged,” “synthetic,” “manufactured,” “a giant hoax,” and “completely fake with actors.”
Jones’ battle with the Sandy Hook families has been in the national headlines for weeks after Jones defied court orders to give pretrial depositions and then flew into Connecticut to answer questions under oath in Bridgeport, and after his offer of $120,000 each to 19 people involved in the three defamation suits was rejected.
Earlier this month, Jones was also the subject of a lawsuit brought by the parents in the two Texas defamation cases that accused him of transferring “millions of dollars from his fortune” to shield assets from them at the damages trials.
Sandy Hook families expect to get more details this week about what Jones’ business bankruptcy filings will mean for the timing of their trials. Hearings for the civil cases are planned in Waterbury and Austin, Texas, on Wednesday; a federal bankruptcy hearing is planned for Friday.
The lead attorney for an FBI agent and eight Sandy Hook families who are awaiting a trial in Connecticut in August to determine what damages Jones owes said the bankruptcies would be ineffective.
“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,” attorney Chris Mattei said.
If the timing of bankruptcy filings by three of Jones’ businesses in the midst of lawsuits by Sandy Hook families seems similar to Remington’s bankruptcy filing in the midst of a Sandy Hook lawsuit two years ago, it is and it isn’t.
While Remington did indeed seek bankruptcy protection in Alabama after the families pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit won a string of pretrial victories, there was an important difference from the Jones business bankruptcies, other than the fact Jones himself has not sought bankruptcy.
The difference is that Remington did not list the nine Sandy Hook families as creditors, prompting the families to accuse the former gun-making giant of using its bankruptcy filing to “dodge responsibility.” In contrast, the Jones business bankruptcies list Sandy Hook families as creditors.
As it turned out in the Remington case, the nine families successfully petitioned the bankruptcy court to require Remington to preserve its insurance coverage as part of its $156 million selloff to competitors. In February the four insurers of the defunct Remington settled with the families for $73 – a deal that included turning over thousands of pages of internal marketing documents.
Some of those families that settled with Remington are part of the defamation cases Jones lost in Connecticut and Texas.