Free Speech Systems, the main company owned by Austin-based conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, has filed for bankruptcy, but a lawyer for Jones said the action is not expected to affect a ongoing trial in Austin by the parents of a child killed in the 2012 attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Free Speech Systems, which operates Jones’ InfoWars multimedia system, listed $14.3 million in assets, including nearly $1.16 million in cash and nearly $1.6 million in property and equipment, to May 31.
But the Austin company’s bankruptcy filing also listed $79 million in liabilities, including a $54 million debt owed to PQPR Holdings.
A separate lawsuit filed by two Sandy Hook families earlier this year in state court accused Jones of systematically hiding million in assets and called the $54 million debt questionable, saying PQPR is a Nevada-registered company that is owned “directly or indirectly by Jones, his parents, and his children through an alphabetical soup of fictitious entities. “. This trial is still in its early stages.
Jones is in the middle of a two-week trial in Austin to determine how much money he should pay the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, one of 20 children and six educators killed in the attack on the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
Jones has been found guilty of defaming and causing intentional emotional distress to parents, Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, for calling the school a hoax shooting and the parents liars or government conspirators in a plot to suppress gun rights.
The parents have asked for $150 million, with the possibility of additional punitive damages that jurors will be asked to assess after testimony about Jones and Free Speech Systems’ net worth at the end of the trial.
Andino Reynal, Jones’ attorney, revealed the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing after jurors departed for the day Friday, saying bankruptcy attorneys “assured me there would be no interference with the course of our trial”.
A hearing has been set for 8:30 a.m. Monday in federal bankruptcy court in Houston to review Free Speech Systems. emergency request to lift an automatic stay that would otherwise stall Austin’s trial.
The idea behind the bankruptcy is to present the dollar amount of damages from Austin’s lawsuit to the bankruptcy court, Reynal told District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble.
Jones faces two more Sandy Hook lawsuits to determine damages — one in Austin for the parents of 6-year-old Noah Pozner, and another for eight families in Connecticut. Both trials have been set for September, with jury selection set to begin Wednesday in the Connecticut case.
The bankruptcy case could delay both procedures.
According to Friday bankruptcy filingFree Speech Systems made $13 million in gross profit on nearly $65 million in revenue in 2012. In the first five months of 2022, gross profit was nearly $9.4 million on 14.3 million dollars in revenue.
The last deposit is not linked to bankruptcy protection that Jones applied for in April for three other companies, including InfoW, formerly known as InfoWars. That filing came days before jury selection began in the Heslin-Lewis trial, forcing a postponement.
Lawyers for the parents later withdrew InfoW from their lawsuit – the other two companies had not been sued – and the case was referred to Guerra Gamble for jury selection last Monday and a trial which has begun. tuesday.
The trial is due to resume Monday at 9 a.m.
“Alex Jones’ latest bankruptcy won’t stop the Sandy Hook families from taking him to court,” Avi Moshenberg, attorney for the families who sued in Texas, said Saturday.