The parent of far-right conspiracy website InfoWars filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection on Friday as the company and its founder Alex Jones face up to $150-million in damages in a trial over long-standing falsehoods he perpetuated about the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre.
Three other companies associated with InfoWars filed for bankruptcy protection in April, but they voluntarily ended their own case in June after failing to secure a settlement with plaintiffs in the Sandy Hook defamation lawsuit. InfoW, IW Health and Prison Planet were the debtors in that case.
The new bankruptcy filing by parent company Free Speech Systems LLC will also attempt to resolve the defamation lawsuits, but it is not intended to interrupt a trial already under way, according to a court document filed by Marc Schwartz, Free Speech System’s restructuring adviser.
Free Speech Systems believes it is in its best interests to continue the current defamation trial because substantial resources have been spent on both sides, and the defamation plaintiffs would likely fight to keep the trial going despite the bankruptcy filing, Schwartz wrote.
The Sandy Hook families had opposed the earlier bankruptcy case as a “sinister” attempt by Jones to shield his assets from liability stemming from defamation lawsuits they had won against him.
The bankruptcies were filed in the wake of court judgments that found Jones and his media businesses liable in multiple defamation lawsuits after he falsely claimed that the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 children and six school employees dead was a hoax.
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