Conspiracy theorist broadcaster Alex Jones must provide thorough financial records in response to a judge’s order by the end of March 2023, after the bereaved families of victims of the Sandy Hook mass shooting attack rejected his attorneys’ pitch for a bankruptcy payment plan.
According to the New York Times, Jones’ attorneys proposed paying $43 million over the course of five years to the families, as well as other creditors.
Jones has been found liable in court for more than $1.4 billion in damages for defaming the families after saying on his broadcasts that the December 2012 attack in Newbury, Connecticut — which killed 20 children and another six adults — was a “false flag.” But since then, he has engaged in a series of financial maneuvers that have left the families’ legal team concerned whether their clients would see satisfactory restitution:
“Without question, Jones is pushing the bankruptcy system to its limits,” said Avi Moshenberg, one of the families’ lead bankruptcy lawyers.
A court ruling that Mr. Jones must pay the full amount owed would send a strong public message, he added: “What a jury said is unforgivable should not and cannot be forgiven by a bankruptcy court.”
Jones has filed for a subsection of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Subchapter V, which was broadened to help small businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the Times reported that as recently as February 2023, Jones listed among his assets a property valued at more than $10 million as well as “two cars and two boats valued at $274,000.”
Jones also listed a monthly income of $129,000 though the newspaper noted that “$104,000 of that was from sources that were not disclosed.” His primary outlet, Infowars, purportedly makes around $70 million in annual income.
Melissa Haselden, a trustee appointed by the U.S. Justice Department to investigate Jones’ finances, has filed a subpoena for documents related to the broadcaster’s involvement with “cryptocurrency.” In May 2022, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported that an unidentified party had deposited $8 million worth of Bitcoin within a 26-day period, noting that the donations “roughly [coincided] with a string of losses in the Sandy Hook defamation case”:
On the May 18 episode of Infowars, just one day before the benefactor gave the most recent donation, Jones pleaded to his audience for more funding.
“To prosecute a war, we need prayer, word of mouth, and money. Money is a symbol that the enemy has used against us, and is bringing us down with. You must use that money to attack,” Jones said.
In September 2022, an attorney for Jones’ program, Stephanie Paz, confirmed before a Connecticut court that Bitcoin donations to the show go directly to Jones.
“He doesn’t tell anybody where it goes or what he does with it,” Paz testified at the time.
“There’s a chance we’re going to be forced into a situation where we’re going to be checking to see how Infowars is doing every month to figure out if our clients are getting paid or not,” said attorney Mark Bankston, who also represents the bereaved families.
Questions around Jones’ ability — and willingness — to repay the bereaved families continued to dog him in September 2023. The Associated Press first reported that Jones’ personal expenses two months earlier totaled $93,000 as he claimed he was more than $1 million in debt.
“If anything, I like to go to nice restaurants. That is my deal,” Jones said on his radio program. “I like to go on a couple of nice vacations a year, but I think I pretty much have earned that in this fight.”
But that same month, according to later reports, the bank handling his finances moved to shut his accounts down, claiming that Jones’ company had made unauthorized transactions. The accounts belonging to Jones and his company are not likely to remain active after a 30-day grace period.
Update 10/1/2023, 12:07 a.m.: Updated with more notes regarding Jones’ finances. — ag