Alex Jones: Who, me?

Last January, Alex Jones rang in the New Year by trying to overthrow the government. This year he spent January telling the House January 6 Select Committee about it. Or, more accurately, not telling them about it. In fact, when he wasn't taking the Fifth or accusing Rep. Adam Schiff of forging documents, he was forgetting how to spell his own name:

STAFF COUNSEL: Mr. Jones, could you please state your full legal name for the record?

Alexander Emerick Jones.

And I believe your first and last name are spelled in the traditional way. Could you please spell your middle name for the record?

JONES: You guys know what my name is. It's on the record.

STAFF COUNSEL: I'm just asking for the court reporter.

JONES: E-m — I'm so stressed out, I can't even spell it for you, so —

JONES'S LAWYER: E-m-e-r-i-C. [SIC]

JONES: That's right, E-m-i-r-c. [SIC]

Little did he know, that would be the high point, and the rest of 2022 would be all downhill.

Jones started the year on the back foot, after having gotten himself default judgments — AKA "death penalty sanctions" — in 2021 for his years-long failure to comply with discovery in the Sandy Hook defamation cases. This meant that he'd pissed off judges in both Texas and Connecticut so thoroughly before his trial that they independently ruled that he'd lost the chance to argue that he did not defame the families of children and staff murdered in the 2012 school shooting by calling them crisis actors. The only issue was how big a check he was going to have to cut.

And he continued to piss off the courts, most spectacularly in March, when he sent his lawyer into a Connecticut courtroom to defend his claim that he was too sick to be deposed, only to have the plaintiffs' counsel turn on his computer and show the judge that Jones was at that very moment broadcasting live from his studio.

"Your Honor, this whole thing to me, and I’m choosing my words carefully here, is extraordinarily disturbing," plaintiffs' attorney Chris Mattei said. "Mr. Jones appears to be on the air right now broadcasting his live show, the Alex Jones Show, as he does every day. I checked 15 minutes ago. He appeared to be on the air."

Later Jones claimed to be under the care of a doctor, by which he meant he was doing his show with a COVID quack named Dr. Marble. He did eventually agree to be deposed, but only after the court walloped him with monetary sanctions as an inducement.

On April 6, the Texas Sandy Hook plaintiffs filed a state court complaint alleging that Jones was siphoning assets out of Free Speech Systems (FSS), Infowars's parent company, in an attempt to make it litigation proof. According to the suit, Jones “doomsday prepped” by taking $18 million in personal draws, and signing promissory notes totaling $54 million to “shell companies owned by insiders like his parents, his children, and himself.” More on that in a second!

On April 17, on the eve of the first trial in Texas, Jones marched into the US Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Texas and placed three worthless shell companies in Chapter 11. Because the companies were named defendants in the defamation suits, this had the effect of immediately staying the state trials. Jones then offered to fund a $10 million litigation settlement trust to settle all the claims against him — a pittance that wouldn't come close to covering the legal fees the dozens of plaintiffs had already accrued in the four years since the cases had been filed.

The US Trustee and the Sandy Hook plaintiffs accused Jones of abusing the bankruptcy court, while Jones's lawyer Kyung Lee huffed indignantly at the ingratitude of these parents, who were finally getting to see some cash after 10 years of being harassed by Jones's demented followers and somehow failed to kiss the hem of Jones's garments. The gambit failed spectacularly, with the plaintiffs dismissing the shell companies so the trial could start, and Jones slinking out of Judge Christopher Lopez's courtroom. But not for long ...

The jury phase of the Texas trial began on July 25. On live television, Jones was confronted by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis who was murdered in his classroom. Jones conceded in court that the parents weren't actors, but was otherwise unable to moderate his behavior. On his show he called the judge a "dwarf goblin," described the jurors as “blue collar folks” who “do not know what planet they are on,” and said that Heslin was “slow” and “on the spectrum.” Attorney Mark Bankston played that tape for jurors, and also had the Perry Mason moment to end all Perry Mason moments, confronting Jones on the witness stand with the fact that his own lawyers had given them the entire contents of his phone going back two years, chock full of evidence both embarrassing and impeaching.

Eventually the jury rendered a $45 million judgment against Jones and FSS. But before that happened, Jones declared bankruptcy for FSS, allowing it to sneak into court under a provision for small businesses with less than $7 million in debts. At which point, Judge Lopez promptly booted Kyung Lee off the case for having failed to disclose that he represented FSS and the shell companies simultaneously across the two bankruptcies. Womp womp.

Jones was desperate to avoid putting FSS under the supervision of bankruptcy court, and for good reason. The Sandy Hook plaintiffs have every incentive to dig up every penny he's got socked away, so if Jones has been hiding assets, they'll find 'em. And while lying in trial court rarely results in a perjury charge, lying about your assets in bankruptcy is a really fuckin' dumb thing to do. So FSS had to admit in its initial filing that the $54 million was owed to a Nevada shell company named PQPR Holdings, LLC, Infowars's supplement supplier, which is itself owned by two shell companies belonging to Jones and his parents. According to FSS, PQPR remembered in 2021 that it had never sent an invoice to FSS for all the trucker speed and beet tincture it had shipped for Jones to flog on air while he was saying that the plaintiffs were part of a hoax to gin up support for gun control. So FSS, which is also wholly owned by Jones, signed promissory notes securitizing the debt and making PQPR first in line of creditors to get paid. Convenient!

The Sandy Hook plaintiffs and the US Trustees are challenging the validity of those notes, and the matter is under advisement by Judge Lopez

Meanwhile, Jones was back in court in Connecticut, where he continued to wow 'em, albeit in less spectacular fashion than in Texas. Judge Barbara Bellis runs a tight ship! The jury eventually awarded $965 million to the 16 Sandy Hook families in the suit, to which Judge Bellis later added $473 million in punitive damages.

Here's Jones, reacting to the jury verdict with his usual grace and aplomb, laughing and assuring his audience that they can continue to buy his boner pills with no fear that the money will go to the families of murdered children.

On December 2, Jones finally tapped out and declared personal bankruptcy. He really had no choice, since he and FSS are jointly liable for the $1.5 billion in damages, and with FSS in bankruptcy, he was on the hook for it all. Jones claimed to have assets worth just $12 million, although something called “The Missouri779384 Trust” already advanced more than $700,000 for his lawyers. No idea what that is, but you can bet your bottom dollar the Sandy Hook plaintiffs are going to figure it out!

This month, Jones claimed to have "lost a great deal of money trusting people who did not have the ability or the character to handle the finances," and threatened the Sandy Hook plaintiffs if they don't agree to reduce their damages in mediation. He also filed a motion in the FSS case demanding to be paid $1.3 million dollars per year, as opposed to the measly $10,000 per week he's getting now — because some creditors can't possibly be expected to take a haircut.

Judge Lopez is about to have a bad 2023, and so is Alex Jones. Sorry about the first, not sorry at all about the second.

[Jones Jan. 6 Transcript / Lafferty v. Jones Docket / In re Alexander Jones, Docket via Court Listener / In re Free Speech Systems, Docket via Court Listener]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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