Radio host Alex Jones' Infowars files for bankruptcy amid Sandy Hook lawsuits

Three entities owned by far-right radio host Alex Jones (pictured) have sought Chapter 11 protection in Southern Texas. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Companies owned by far-right radio host Alex Jones have filed for bankruptcy after being hit by a flurry of lawsuits.

Three entities, including his website Infowars, sought Chapter 11 protection in Southern Texas, each with estimated liabilities of as much as US$10 million (S$13.6 million), according to court filings. Chapter 11 filings allow a business to keep operating while working on a turnaround plan, and pause pending civil litigation.

Mr Jones and his companies last year were found liable in a defamation lawsuit brought by relatives of children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre after Mr Jones called the shootings a hoax. A trial in Connecticut to determine the size of the damages has yet to take place. He was also found liable in similar proceedings in Texas.

Lawyers representing Mr Jones and his businesses have said the defamation lawsuit was strategically filed to silence their free speech on matters of public interest, according to court filings.

Judges in Connecticut and Texas issued default judgments against Mr Jones after he failed to turn over documents including financial information. Law firm Pattis & Smith said the plaintiffs' probe into the financial ties between Mr Jones and his various entities is akin to a "collections action" and a "fishing expedition".

In March, lawyers representing relatives of Sandy Hook shooting victims sought an arrest order for Mr Jones after he skipped a court-ordered deposition, citing health reasons. Mr Jones appeared for the deposition after facing hefty fines.

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