Alex Jones’ bankruptcy liquidation approved in court

By Thomson Reuters Jun 14, 2024 | 12:32 PM

By Dietrich Knauth

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. bankruptcy judge on Friday allowed conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to convert his bankruptcy case into a straightforward liquidation, saying he would quickly appoint an independent trustee to oversee the sale of Jones’ remaining assets.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Lopez said at a court hearing in Houston, Texas that a Chapter 7 trustee should be put in place before resolving remaining disputes between Jones and his creditors, relatives of relatives of 20 students and six staff members killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Lopez resisted some requests by the Sandy Hook families, who have sought control over Jones’ social media accounts and the ability to choose the trustee who will be responsible for collecting assets from Jones to pay some of the $1.5 billion in defamation judgments that courts have awarded to the families.

“The thing to do is appoint an interim trustee and let that person get to work,” Lopez said.

The families can vote on a permanent trustee in 30 days, and the interim trustee can weigh in on disputes in the meantime, Lopez said.

Lopez may rule later Friday on the fate of Jones’ company Free Speech Systems, which operates the Infowars website and hosts Jones’ radio show. Lopez is considering competing requests to dismiss Free Speech Systems from bankruptcy or convert its bankruptcy to a liquidation.

Jones filed bankruptcy protection 17 months ago, but he was unable to reach a settlement that would reduce the $1.5 billion he owes to the Sandy Hook families after courts in Connecticut and Texas ruled that he defamed them with repeated false statements about the massacre.

Jones claimed for years that the Sandy Hook killings were staged with actors as part of a government plot to seize Americans’ guns. Jones has since acknowledged that the shooting occurred.

The judge overseeing Jones’ bankruptcy has ruled that most of the debt will survive after a liquidation, because it resulted from “willful and malicious” conduct.

(Reporting by Dietrich Knauth; Editing by David Gregorio)