Alex Jones. Tyler Sizemore/PA

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones files for personal bankruptcy following $1 billion court ruling

He has been ordered to pay nearly $1.5 billion in damages over his false claim that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax.

FAR-RIGHT US conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has been ordered to pay nearly $1.5 billion (€1.4 billion) to the families of victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting, has declared personal bankruptcy.

Jones, who falsely claimed for years that the 2012 massacre was a hoax, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with a court in his home state of Texas.

In the filing, Jones said he has assets worth between $1 million and $10 million and liabilities of between $1 billion and $10 billion.

Jones, founder of the website InfoWars and host of a popular radio show, has been found liable in multiple defamation lawsuits brought by relatives of the victims of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 children and six teachers dead.

A jury in Connecticut awarded $965 million in October to relatives of eight Sandy Hook victims and an FBI agent who brought a defamation case against Jones.

The judge who presided over the trial later tacked on an additional $473 million in punitive damages.

In a separate trial, a jury in Texas ordered Jones to pay nearly $50 million damages to a couple whose six-year-old son was killed by the 20-year-old gunman behind the Sandy Hook shooting.

InfoWars declared bankruptcy in April and another Jones-owned company, Free Speech Systems, filed for bankruptcy in July. Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a debtor to reorganize their assets under court supervision.

In the personal bankruptcy filing, Jones estimated that he has between 50 and 99 creditors and listed the amounts he owes to several of the Sandy Hook families.

Jones’ bankruptcy filing came a day after rapper Kanye West appeared on the InfoWars show and sparked outrage by declaring his “love” of Nazis and admiration for Adolf Hitler.

Jones claimed for years on his show that the Sandy Hook shooting was “staged” by gun control activists and that the parents were “crisis actors,” but has since acknowledged it was “100 percent real.”

Sandy Hook families testified during the trials that Jones’ lies and denialism, coupled with his ability to influence the beliefs of thousands of followers, caused real emotional trauma.

Jones was also accused of pulling in massive profits from various products he sold on his website.

Jones, a vocal supporter of former president Donald Trump, is also under scrutiny over the 6 January 2021 assault on the US Capitol.

Trump appeared frequently on Jones’s radio show during his 2016 White House campaign, and Jones was in Washington when supporters of the then-president stormed Congress in a bid to prevent certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.

© AFP 2022

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