Hours after we initially reported on the possibility of Infowars filing for bankruptcy, Alex Jones' InfoWars on Sunday filed for voluntary Chapter 11 protection in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas as a result of the defamation lawsuits filed against Jones and his company by the parents of victims killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
As we just noted, attorneys for Jones have claimed that the defamation lawsuit was filed as part of a strategy to silence Jones' free speech on matters of public interest.
"[T]his suit is only the latest in Plaintiffs’ efforts to silence those who openly oppose their very public ‘herculean’ efforts to ban the sale of certain weapons, ammunition and accessories, to pass new laws relating to gun registration and to limit free speech," Jones' lawyers said in a motion to dismiss the suit filed earlier this month.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy procedures are often used by companies (California utility PG&E is one memorable example, Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharmaceuticals is another) to pause civil litigation matters and allow companies to prepare turnaround plans while continuing to operate.
Jones has already offered to personally pay $120K to each of the families involved in the lawsuit to settle it, but his offer has been rejected.
It appears Infowars is already in a precarious financial state, as filings submitted Sunday listed its estimated assets in the range of $0-$50,000 and estimated liabilities in the range of $1 million to $10 million.
The longtime Infowars host had been slapped with default judgements in Connecticut and Texas, after he failed to turn over financial information and other documents, which his legal team denounced as a "collections action" and a "fishing expedition."
In March, Jones appeared for a deposition rather than pay hefty fines, after lawyers representing the families of Sandy Hook shooting victims sought his arrest for skipping a court-ordered deposition.
A Connecticut trial to determine the size of damages Jones faces has yet to take place.
As Reuters reminds us, the lawsuits stem from comments Jones made that the twenty children and six school employees who were shot dead at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, were actually fabricated by gun-control advocates and the mainstream media in a conspiracy to suppress 2nd Amendment rights.