Sandy Hook Parents Lawyers Crush Alex Jones For Bankruptcy Stunt

0
499

Lawyers for families of victims of the 2012 shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, criticized far-right agitator Alex Jones after the parent company for his media outlet InfoWars filed for bankruptcy amid proceedings dealing with the question of what level of damages he’ll be required to pay for lies about the shooting.

The bankruptcy filing for that parent company — known as Free Speech Systems — could impact the course of proceedings related to Jones’s comments about Sandy Hook. The bankruptcy filing from Free Speech Systems outlined an alleged $79 million in liabilities, including $54 million in debt owed to a company called PQPR Holdings — a company which a separate lawsuit from two Sandy Hook families claimed is owned “directly or indirectly by Jones, his parents and his children through an alphabet soup of shell entities.” For Jones and members of his family to directly or more distantly control the company to whom most of the alleged debt at Free Speech Systems is owed would certainly undercut the idea of the legitimacy of the financial liabilities.

The Austin American-Statesman notes there’s a possibility of additional punitive financial damages beyond the level of compensation sought by the parents behind a Texas case after the jury soon hears testimony about the net worth of Jones and Free Speech Systems, his main company — so filing for bankruptcy certainly suggests he’s potentially trying to evade accountability when that comes up. The Texas trial over the amount of damages for which Jones would be liable was ongoing when the Free Speech Systems bankruptcy filing was revealed; a Connecticut trial on what Jones will owe other Sandy Hook families is set for the near future.

“The world is currently watching the final chapter of Mr. Jones’ pathetic exit from the American stage, and true to form, he will try to grab some cash on his way out,” attorney Mark Bankston, who’s involved on the parents’ side in the Texas case, said. “We don’t intend to allow it.” Attorney Christopher Mattei, who’s working on the Connecticut case on Sandy Hook parents’ behalf, shared similar sentiments. “Just two days before jury selection is due to begin in Connecticut, Mr. Jones has once again fled like a coward to bankruptcy court in a transparent attempt to delay facing the families that he has spent years hurting,” Mattei said. “These families have an endless well of patience and remain determined to hold Mr. Jones accountable in a Connecticut court.”

Other lawyers on the Sandy Hook families’ side, including Cordt Akers and Avi Moshenberg, also spoke out. “Alex Jones’ latest bankruptcy stunt will not deter the Sandy Hook families from bringing him to justice,” Moshenberg said.

Andino Reynal, who’s representing Jones in the ongoing Texas proceedings, told Judge Maya Guerra Gamble the point of the bankruptcy filing was evidently to use the eventually imposed financial damages in Jones’s favor. “The idea behind the bankruptcy is to have the dollar amount in damage awards from the Austin trial to present to the bankruptcy court,” as the Austin American-Statesman summarizes Reynal’s comments. The Connecticut case has eight families behind it — and it was threatened with a delay in connection to the bankruptcy filing from Free Speech Systems, as that Texas newspaper explained it. There’s a third upcoming trial dealing with the level of damages to hold Jones responsible for in connection to the impact of his comments about Sandy Hook; it’s set to take place in September in Texas. Despite the imminent jury selection, the Connecticut trial was also set as of early this week to unfold in September.

Featured image: Jared Holt, available under a Creative Commons license