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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Kari Paul and agencies

Alex Jones’s bankruptcy trustee plans to liquidate far-right platform Infowars

white man green suit and blue shirt speaks
Alex Jones speaks to the media after arriving at the federal courthouse for a hearing in Houston, Texas, on 14 June 2024. Photograph: David J Phillip/AP

A court-appointed bankruptcy trustee has signaled intentions to liquidate assets belonging to Alex Jones, including the media platform Infowars, as part of the conspiracy theorist’s bankruptcy proceedings.

The proposed liquidation is meant to help pay $1.5bn in lawsuit judgments Jones owes for repeatedly calling the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting a hoax.

US bankruptcy court trustee Christopher Murray indicated for the first time in an “emergency” motion filed Sunday intentions to “conduct an orderly wind-down” of the operations of Infowars’ parent company Free Speech Systems and “liquidate its inventory”.

Murray, who was appointed by a federal judge to oversee the assets in Jones’s personal bankruptcy case, did not give a timetable for the liquidation, but requested the judge to temporarily block efforts from families of Sandy Hook victims to collect money they are owed to “allow an orderly process to take its course”.

The demise of InfoWars would represent an end to the platform’s decades-long tenure as a major source of far-right news stories and conspiracies.

Founded in 1999, it has been criticized for publishing fake stories and misinformation that has been linked to harassment campaigns and violence, including false claims related to the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that later resulted in a targeted attack of a Washington DC pizzeria. Jones repeatedly characterized terrorist attacks and mass shootings as “false flag” operations – including 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombings and the Sandy Hook shooting.

Jones filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2022 after courts in Connecticut and Texas ordered him to pay $1.5bn to the Sandy Hook families for his repeated claims that the Sandy Hook killings were staged with actors as part of a government plot to seize Americans’ guns. Jones has since acknowledged that the shooting occurred.

Jones has been saying on his web and radio shows that he expects Infowars to operate for a few more months before it is shut down because of the bankruptcy. But he has vowed to continue his bombastic broadcasts in some other fashion, possibly on social media. He also had talked about someone else buying the company and allowing him to continue his shows as an employee.

In addition to requests that the bankruptcy judge halt parents from collecting their payments, Murray also asked the judge to clarify his authority over Jones’s bank accounts. As part of Jones’s personal bankruptcy case, his ownership rights of Free Speech Systems were turned over to Murray. Jones has been continuing his daily broadcasts in the meantime.

It was not immediately clear when the bankruptcy judge would address Murray’s motion. Bankruptcy lawyers for Jones, Heslin and Lewis did not immediately return messages seeking comment on Monday.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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