Alex Jones asks to liquidate assets in $1.5bn debt

Alex Jones gestures while speaking
Alex Jones was ordered to pay Sandy Hook victims' families more than $1.5bn in 2022 over false claims about the shooting [Reuters]

Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has asked a US court to liquidate his assets, legal filings show, which could allow him to start paying damages he owes the familes of victims of a 2012 school shooting.

The surviving families of the Sandy Hook shooting have not yet seen any of $1.5bn (£1.32bn) Mr Jones was ordered to pay in 2022.

The request, filed in a Texas court on Thursday, could speed up payments to the families, some of whom have faced harassment over Mr Jones’s claims.

Mr Jones and his media company Infowars have been contacted for comment.

The court documents show Mr. Jones has asked the court to convert his previous personal Chapter 11 bankruptcy claim to Chapter 7, which would allow the media personality to sell any assets rather than try to restructure his finances.

“There is no reasonable prospect of a successful reorganization,” his lawyers said in the filing, explaining the reason for the Chapter 7 claim.

The request appears in line with a settlement offer made by Sandy Hook families in 2023 that would allow Mr Jones to liquidate in order to pay a minimum of $85m (£67m) over 10 years.

Among the assets that could be sold include Mr Jones’ ownership in Free Speech Systems, the parent company of his Infowars media outlet.

Both Mr Jones and Free Speech Systems filed for bankruptcy in late 2022, which set up potential delays in victim pay-outs.

A judge ruled last year that Mr Jones would not be released from paying the settlement despite the bankruptcy filings.

Mr Jones was ordered in 2022 to pay families of the Sandy Hook shooting victims $1.5bn (£1.32bn) in multiple defamation cases over false claims about their relatives’ deaths at a suburban Connecticut school in 2012.

Mr Jones, 50, for years falsely claimed the attack - which included the murders of 20 young children and six staff members - was "staged" in an elaborate conspiracy to limit gun rights.

The theories were false, but many of the ideas he broadcast led to harassment for the victims' families - including death threats - and have since been used to cast doubt on other US mass shootings.

Testifying in a Texas court in 2022, Mr Jones admitted he was wrong and called the killings "100% real".

“Making Alex Jones liquidate his assets in bankruptcy is a big step toward holding him accountable for his wrongdoing,” Avi Moshenberg, a lawyer for Sandy Hook victims’ families, said in a statement to the BBC on Friday.

“But it is only one step of many more we are committed to taking to bring him to justice,” he added.

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