In seeking Chapter 11 protection, the Infowars host filed boilerplate bankruptcy documents in Texas, claiming he was worth $1 million to $10 million and had debts of $1 billion to $10 billion.
The filing comes weeks after a Connecticut jury ordered him to pay $965 million to the families of eight Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims and an FBI agent who responded to the attack for the suffering he caused them by spreading lies on his platforms about the mass shooting.
Connecticut Judge Barbara Bellis later imposed punitive damages of $473 million for promoting those false conspiracy theories about Sandy Hook, bringing the bill to a staggering $1.44 billion.
Chris Mattei, an attorney for Sandy Hook families in that Connecticut lawsuit, said Jones will not escape monetary judgment.
“Like every other cowardly move Alex Jones has made, this bankruptcy will not work,” Mattei said in a statement.
“The bankruptcy system does not protect anyone who engages in intentional and egregious attacks on others, as Mr. Jones did. The American judicial system will hold Alex Jones accountable, and we will never stop working to enforce the jury’s verdict.”
The personal bankruptcy filing fell into the Houston courtroom of Judge Christopher M. López.
If Jones’ hopes to have the civil awards against him discharged, he will have to convince López that he’s not responsible for having inflicted a “willful and malicious injury,” according to bankruptcy codes.
“The judge may or may not rule that the claims are (eligible to be) discharged,” said Frances Smith, chairwoman of the Texas State Bar’s Bankruptcy Law Section.
“You have to be very careful when you’re dealing with statutes. But the language of the statute is for ‘willful and malicious injury by the debtor.’ The judge may find that it’s not dischargeable.”
Once Jones lists his assets and liabilities, it’ll be up to creditors, such as the Sandy Hook parents, to commence a lawsuit within bankruptcy proceedings to prevent the debtor from having obligations dismissed.
Kristin Mayhew, chairwoman of the Commercial Law & Bankruptcy Section of the Connecticut Bar, said she believes Sandy Hook creditors will have an upper hand in any fight to prove Jones’ actions were “willful and malicious.”
“Is it a tough sell for him to argue that it’s not willful and malicious? I think the answer is ‘yes,'” Mayhew said.
“I think the creditors will likely be able to demonstrate that the debts are willful and malicious claims that are not excepted from discharge and therefore he’ll continue to be on the hook for them.”
Earlier this year, a civil jury in Texas awarded the parents of a child killed at Sandy Hook $49.3 million in damages.
In addition to this personal bankruptcy petition, Jones’ company, Free Speech Systems Inc., filed for protection against creditors back in July.
After years of denial, Jones recently said the Sandy Hook massacre was real — in contrast to previous claims that the shooting was a hoax pulled off by actors as part of a plot to seize Americans’ guns.
Lanza died from a self-inflicted wound.
Chelsea Damberg contributed.