In the ongoing legal saga of conservative broadcaster Alex Jones, a judge in Texas has ruled that the Infowars host may not utilize bankruptcy as a means to avoid paying an over $1.1 billion verdict to families of Sandy Hook shooting victims, as Fox News reports.
The decision was issued by federal District Judge Christopher Lopez, and it relates to Jones' massive liability for damages stemming from claims made on his program that the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut mass killing was a hoax that never actually happened.
No safe haven
It was late last year that Jones filed for bankruptcy in the wake of a verdict in favor of the Sandy Hook families and after the determination that he owed well over $1 billion in damages as a result, according to Reuters.
In his Chapter 11 filing, Jones declared assets valued at between $1 million and $10 million and liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion.
The scope of Jones' personal wealth, however, remained uncertain at the time, but has since been pegged at around $14 million.
At the time of the filing, attorney Chris Mattei, representing some of the Sandy Hook litigants, declared, “Like every other cowardly move Alex Jones has made, this bankruptcy will not work. The American judicial system will hold Alex Jones accountable, and we will never stop working to enforce the jury's verdict.”
Last week, Judge Lopez indeed ruled that the protections afforded by the bankruptcy code are inapplicable when it comes to debts resulting from “willful and malicious” conduct, in which, according to the aforementioned verdict, Jones engaged.
In the wake of Lopez's decision, Jones took to his show's website to offer his take on how it will – or, more accurately, will not – affect his life going forward.
“It's all academic. I don't have a million dollars. My company has a few million, but that's just to pay the bills and my product in the future,” Jones stated.
He went on, “So, we are literally on empty. So this idea that...we're going to take your money away doesn't exist because the money doesn't exist. It's all political.”
Striking a defiant tone, Jones added, “At the end of the day, they won't take by free speech away. I'm still going to be on the air one way or another.”
Mattei, for his part, took a contrary view, saying, as ABC News noted, “The families are pleased with the Court's ruling...Jones will continue to be accountable for his actions into the future regardless of his bankruptcy.”