Judge rules Alex Jones can’t use bankruptcy to avoid paying $1.1 billion to Sandy Hook families

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A federal bankruptcy judge ruled Thursday that bankruptcy proceedings will not shield Infowars host Alex Jones from more than $1.1 billion in damages he owes the families of Sandy Hook shooting victims who won a civil defamation case against him in Connecticut last year.

The families filed a motion in May asking the court to force Jones to pay the trial damages and rule out the possibility of a forced settlement in Chapter 11 proceedings. If forced into a settlement through bankruptcy Jones could have liquidated his broadcast company and likely paid the families a substantially lower amount in damages while also clearing the way for him to start a new company free of claims.

Jones filed for personal bankruptcy last December after he was ordered to pay nearly $1.5 billion in the Connecticut case brought by the family members of eight shooting victims and a first responder.

The families sued Jones over his false claims about the December 2012 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 26 dead, including 20 children. Jones and other InfoWars personalities called the massacre a hoax and accused the victims’ families of being crisis actors.

US Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Lopez in Texas ruled in favor of the families who won their trial in Connecticut, except on the more than $322.5 million they’d been awarded in common-law punitive damages, which under Connecticut law are meant to cover attorneys costs and legal fees.

Lopez also ruled on a similar motion for summary judgment filed by two other sets of parents to shooting victims who brought lawsuits against the right-wing conspiracy theorist and his company in Texas.

The judge ruled that Jones is not shielded from paying more than $4.4 million in compensatory and exemplary damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of six-year-old victim Jesse Lewis, who won their civil jury trial against Jones and his company last summer.

The judge said in that order, also filed on Thursday, that another trial must determine the amount of damages Jones should pay them for the intentional infliction of emotional distress claims. Jesse’s parents were awarded more than $44 million on that claim at trial but the judge said the state court record is not clear enough on the jury’s determination based on Jones’ “willful and malicious injury” to Heslin and Lewis.

Heslin and Lewis filed lawsuits against Jones and his company in 2018 for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Infowars filed bankruptcy last July in the middle of their trial.

The parents of another victim, six-year-old Noah Pozner, who also filed a lawsuit against Jones and his company in Texas, didn’t make it to trial before the bankruptcy proceedings got underway so a damages trial must be held in their action against Jones, Judge Lopez ruled.

The summary judgments issued Thursday only addressed Alex Jones’ bankruptcy proceedings, not those of his company, which were not filed under traditional Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Jones has appeals moving through state court for both of the trial verdicts against him, so ultimately the debts could change if he were to be successful in appealing any damages he’s been ordered to pay the families in Connecticut and Texas.

CNN reached out to attorneys for the families and Jones for comment.

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