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Alex Jones proposes paying Sandy Hook families a minimum of $55 million to settle lawsuit claims – CNN

Published December 16, 2023 By admin


Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who filed for personal bankruptcy a year ago after being ordered to pay more than a billion dollars to the families of Sandy Hook school shooting victims for defamation, is asking the families to accept a small fraction of what they are owed.

In a Texas bankruptcy court filing Friday, Jones proposed that Sandy Hook families be allowed to accept a settlement guaranteeing them at least $5.5 million a year for 10 years, with the possibility of more depending on Jones’ income. The families that settle would also receive 70% of the money Jones raises by selling personal property not exempt from bankruptcy law. In exchange, they would give up all legal claims against Jones or any related party.

Jones filed for personal bankruptcy in December 2022 after he was ordered to pay the damages when he lost two civil cases over his false claims about the elementary school massacre. His company Free Speech Systems, which operates his Infowars website, filed for bankruptcy last July.

“This bankruptcy plan is the first time Jones has shared how he will be held accountable for the harm he caused the families,” said Jarrod B. Martin, an attorney for some of the Sandy Hook families.

“Our team is carefully examining that plan and will share our views of it in due time,” Martin told CNN via email.

CNN reached out to attorneys for Jones on Saturday for comment. The court had set a Friday deadline for all sides to propose a plan to settle Jones’ debts.

Friday’s filing came one day after the 11th anniversary of the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 20 first-graders and six adults.

Jones baselessly repeated that the 2012 mass shooting was staged, and the families and first responders were “crisis actors.”

The lies spawned multiple lawsuits and a trial was held in 2022 over lawsuits that were filed in Connecticut. Family members throughout that trial described in poignant terms how the lies had prompted unrelenting harassment against them and compounded the emotional agony of losing their loved ones.

In previous filings, attorneys for the families said Jones had failed to make any attempt to curb his own spending in order to pay them after winning the civil defamation case against him. “He continues to enjoy his extravagant lifestyle and, based on his monthly operating reports, he has spent approximately $900,000 since commencing this case,” the Sandy Hook families said.

A federal bankruptcy judge ruled in October that Jones was still legally obligated to pay the vast majority of what the Sandy Hook families have won in court, despite his bankruptcy filing.

Last month, the Sandy Hook families said in a court filing that Jones could pay the families at least $8.5 million a year plus half of all of Jones’ annual income above $9 million, along with other assets that are not exempt from bankruptcy protection. The families would also get an ownership stake in Free Speech Systems. If Jones met the terms of their proposal for 10 years, he would get back full ownership of his company and “will be free from all liability,” according to the proposal.

The families’ attorneys said that if Jones did not accept that proposal, they would demand full liquidation of any assets not protected by bankruptcy law, leaving him to likely “face a lifetime of litigation and enforcement proceedings.”

A hearing for the judge to consider the latest proposal is set for the end of February.

Jones was ordered to pay more than $1.1 billion in the Connecticut case brought by the family members of eight shooting victims and a first responder. US Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Lopez in Texas ruled in favor of the families, except on the more than $322.5 million they’d been awarded in common-law punitive damages.

CNN’s Dejania Oliver, Nicki Brown, Lauren del Valle and Ray Sanchez contributed to this report.

Correction: A previous version of this story gave the wrong month of a federal judge’s ruling in the bankruptcy proceedings. The ruling was made in October.



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