Alex Jones files for bankruptcy following $1.5 billion Sandy Hook verdict

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones filed for personal bankruptcy Friday, hoping to avoid paying nearly $1.5 billion in damages to Sandy Hook victims. Although the move puts the families’ collection efforts on hold, legal experts said it could ultimately help them.
For years, Jones claimed the 2012 shooting was a hoax fueled by “crisis actors.” In October, a Waterbury jury ordered him to pay eight Sandy Hook families and an FBI agent $964 million for defamation. Last month, Judge Barbara Bellis added $473 million in compensatory damages. Both awards came after a Texas court awarded $49 million in damages to other families this summer.
Robbie Parker told jurors that he moved to Washington state but still couldn’t avoid violent threats from Jones’ followers.
"He was looking at me and he said how do you [expletive] sleep at night you [expletive] piece of [expletive]?" Parker testified.
Jones mocked the massive award on his Infowars broadcast – as it was announced – and vowed to tie up the case in years of appeals. Now, in his bankruptcy filing, Jones claims he has less than $10 million in assets but owes more than $1 billion.
In the Texas lawsuit, a financial forensic expert testified that Jones could be worth up to $270 million. Jones was defiant on his Infowars show on Friday.
"Now under penalty of perjury and the whole nine yards, it's all going to be right there – that they have misrepresented everything and you're going to know the absolute truth,” Jones said. "It's all going to be filed. It's all going to be public, and you will see that Alex Jones has almost no cash."
Infowars’ parent company, Free Speech Systems, already filed for bankruptcy protection in July.
"I don't know what choice he had,” said Robert White, a bankruptcy professor at the Quinnipiac School of Law.
White said bankruptcy protects Jones in the short term but could hurt him in the long run.
"Chapter 11 does provide transparency, which could be good for the plaintiffs,” he said. “There's been allegations of transfers of assets and that will help do that."
Jones’ bankruptcy protection may be short-lived. Bankruptcy law contains an exception for debts arising out of “willful and malicious injury.”
"Like every other cowardly move Alex Jones has made, this bankruptcy will not work,” Chris Mattei, an attorney for the Sandy Hook families, said in a statement. “The bankruptcy system does not protect anyone who engages in intentional and egregious attacks on others, as Mr. Jones did."
Bellis was set to consider freezing Jones’ assets at a hearing Friday morning, but the bankruptcy puts the entire state case on hold. The judge set a status conference for Dec. 19 to discuss next steps.