Bankruptcy judge returns Sandy Hook-Alex Jones cases to Austin court

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A federal bankruptcy judge remanded Sandy Hook’s defamation cases to an Austin state court on Friday, paving the way for lawsuits to determine how much money Austin-based conspiracy theorist Alex Jones owes. pay for calling the 2012 school a hoax.

Jones was found guilty of defamation and causing emotional distress among the parents of several victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting when he and others on his InfoWars media system called the mass shooting a hoax designed to justify a government campaign to restrict gun rights.

The first of two trials in Texas to determine how much money Jones owes the parents was scheduled to begin last month in Austin.

However, shortly before jury selection began, Jones filed for bankruptcy protection for InfoWars, now known as InfoW LLC, and two related companies. This Chapter 11 petition was filed in Victoria and assigned to a judge in Houston.

Jones also sent the Sandy Hook cases to federal bankruptcy court in Austin, forcing a postponement of a two-week trial that was scheduled to begin April 25 before state District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble.

On Friday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Mott returned to the Guerra Gamble cases, noting that the Sandy Hook families had dropped all claims against InfoW LLC and the other two bankrupt Jones companies, Prison Planet TV and IWHealth.

“The Sandy Hook families can’t wait to be back in state court and bring Alex Jones to justice,” attorney Avi Moshenberg said.

The families had opposed the filing, calling it an improper attempt to limit Jones’ financial exposure to court-ordered damages.

At a preliminary hearing last month, Jones’ attorneys argued that Guerra Gamble could take no action in the Sandy Hook cases until a bankruptcy judge rules on their motion to dismiss cases in federal court.

Guerra Gamble reluctantly canceled the lawsuit, claiming that while she believed Jones’ lawyers had “improperly filed” the bankruptcy action, federal court rules left her no choice.

But the judge also predicted that the case would return to her court, and she promised quick action once that happened.

“As soon as I get a dismissal, I’ll reset this case as soon as I can get 100 jurors to sit again. We’re going to go to trial as soon as I can,” Guerra Gamble told the preliminary hearing.

The delayed trial involved Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis. They sued after Jones alleged the school shooting was “one giant hoax” and disputed Heslin’s claim that he held his dead son afterwards.

A second trial in Austin, scheduled for June, involves Leonard Pozner and Véronique De La Rosa, parents of 6-year-old Noah Pozner. They sued after Jones described the school shooting as a ‘false flag’ deception designed to create a pretext to crack down on gun rights.

The two children were among 20 students and six adults who were killed in the attack at the school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Mott also sent a related case to court in Austin — a lawsuit brought by Marcel Fontaine, who was mistakenly identified by InfoWars as a suspect in the 2018 high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. A trial in the Fontaine case has been set for September.

Jones is also facing a lawsuit in Connecticut to determine how much money he should pay the other Sandy Hook families for defamation.

In the meantime, bankruptcy proceedings for InfoW, Prison Planet and IWHealth will continue in Houston. A US administrator for the The Ministry of Justice opposes it bankruptcy, and a hearing scheduled for next week has been postponed until June 10.

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