Experts: Alex Jones Looking at Financial Ruin

Unable to pay the full penalty, 'he may be forced to live a subsistence type of life'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2022 9:27 AM CDT
Experts: Defamation Verdict Means Ruin for Alex Jones
Plaintiff William Sherlach, left, hugs attorney Josh Koskoff while plaintiff Nicole Hockley hugs attorney Chris Mattei following the jury verdict and reading of monetary damages in the Alex Jones defamation trial at Superior Court, Wednesday, in Waterbury, Conn.   (Brian A. Pounds/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool)

The $965 million awarded to 15 Connecticut plaintiffs who suffered from Infowars host Alex Jones' promotion of the lie that the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax is "the largest defamation verdict in US history, certainly on compensatory damages," University of California law professor Jesse Gessin tells NBC News, noting punitive damages are still to be added. Getting the money from Jones, whose Infowars empire a forensic economist valued at up to $270 million, won't be easy. But the plaintiffs are willing to fight for it. "We are going to chase Alex Jones to the ends of the earth" for "every last dollar," Josh Koskoff, one of the lawyers representing eight victims' families plus an FBI agent who responded to the scene, tells the New York Times.

Jones, ordered in August to pay another $49 million to two Sandy Hook parents in a Texas case, has claimed there is no money for him to hand over. Infowars' parent company Free Speech Systems filed for bankruptcy in July, just before the Texas trial, claiming just $14.3 million in assets and $79.2 million in debts, per Forbes. As the Times reports, a bankruptcy court could order the liquidation of the company. Separately, a judge could decide the penalty is too high and come up with a new figure, per NBC. But experts say it's likely to remain high enough to ensure financial ruin for Jones, who hasn't filed for personal bankruptcy. Legal experts say some of the money could come from Jones' personal assets, including five homes in Texas worth a combined $7.5 million.

Though ownership of the most expensive home was transferred to Jones' wife in February, per Forbes, a court could view that move as a fraudulent transfer—a crime the families already allege in bankruptcy proceedings. But the home values are just a drop in the bucket. The plaintiffs may also be entitled to Jones' future earnings, per the Times, or could even sell their claims to a hedge fund that could then go after Jones' assets. Jones has other ideas. Urging donations from fans, Jones said Wednesday that he could keep the plaintiffs in court "for years" with just "hundreds of thousands of dollars." But unless he wins an appeal, the judgement will follow him indefinitely, experts say. "He may be forced to live a subsistence type of life," former federal prosecutor Richard Signorelli tells NBC. "He's always going to be watched. He’s always going to be hounded." (More Alex Jones stories.)

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