Alex Jones Thinks He's Going To Beat The Legal System. He Is Wrong.
I hate Alex Jones. You hate Alex Jones. We all hate Alex Jones and agree that he is a cancer on our collective consciousness. And yet we are forced to write this long-ass post about that walking plague because his various legal entanglements are probably going to be a template for dealing with his thousand shitlord offspring as they inject their bile into our digital nervous system. In short, we are all going to have to learn to live in this world where lies can reach millions of people in a second.
So, let's talk about this sick fuck and his legal problems, shall we?
The Sandy Hook Lawsuits
In 2012, a young man with mental health issues and ready access to firearms murdered 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Almost immediately, Jones and his staff at Infowars began speculating that it was a "false flag" or a "synthetic" event staged by the government to gin up support for gun control. At various points, Infowars employees called the families "crisis actors" and speculated that the children murdered there never existed. Most egregiously, in 2017 host Owen Shroyer played a short clip of the medical examiner saying he'd allowed parents to identify their children by photo to spare them trauma to imply that the bodies had never been returned, and thus Neil Heslin, the father of slain 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, was lying when he said he'd held his dead son's body.
Along the way, Jones handed his megaphone to various deranged people who would have ranted into the ether in obscurity without his platform but whom he treated as legitimate researchers for his millions of viewers. The inevitable result was that some 24 percent of Americans came to doubt that that the Sandy Hook massacre went down as the victims said it had and the victims faced years of harassment and death threats from Jones's deranged followers.
In 2018, surviving family members filed multiple lawsuits against Jones in state courts in Texas and Connecticut. The first of those trials is underway in a courtroom in Austin, where Jesse's parents, Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, are seeking $150 million for the damage caused by Jones and lies he spewed on Infowars.
Death Penalty Sanctions
It will astonish you to hear that Jones and his lawyers did not want to cooperate with discovery into his finances and his actual knowledge that his supposed sources were cranks. Most recently, he claimed to be too sick to be deposed — at the very moment he was in-studio broadcasting his show. Because of Jones's years-long refusal to obey discovery orders, including lying about whether he maintained an email account, judges in both Texas and Connecticut declared default judgments against him, i.e. "death penalty sanctions." The issue of whether Jones defamed the plaintiffs and intentionally inflicted emotional distress is no longer on the table — all that the trials about now are how big a check he has to cut.
The First Bankruptcy
When the defendant in a civil suit declares bankruptcy, it automatically stays the civil suit and transfers it to federal bankruptcy court. So in April, just hours before the first Sandy Hook trial was supposed to start, Jones placed three worthless shell companies in bankruptcy, halting the civil suits because the companies were named defendants.
Jones made no bones about it being a ploy to halt the trials, proposing to fob all the plaintiffs off with $10 million, an amount which wouldn't even cover their accrued legal fees.
“We’re turning to the bankruptcy courts to compel the plaintiffs to estimate the value of their claims in open court by discernible evidentiary standards,” his attorney Norm Pattis bragged to the Wall Street Journal, adding, “The plaintiffs have turned this litigation into a macabre morality play and have refused to negotiate in good faith. We hope they will show respect to the federal courts.”
The plan failed after the plaintiffs dropped the shell companies as defendants, but not before the US Bankruptcy Trustee referred to the gambit as a "classic bad faith" abuse of the bankruptcy system.
Last week, the first trial got underway in Austin. The testimony has been gut wrenching, with Heslin weeping on the stand that the lies took away his son a second time and testifying that his house has been shot at by people yelling about Infowars and Alex Jones.
“Jesse was real. I am real. I know you know that,” Jesse's mother Scarlett Lewis said, addressing Jones directly and describing the Choose Love organization she founded in her son's memory to teach social-emotional learning.
All the while, Jones has been defying a court order not to talk about the trial on his show, as he did Monday when he called Heslin "slow" and "on the spectrum" and claimed he was "being manipulated by very bad people."
\u201cAlex Jones can't stop defaming the victim of his defamation. While Heslin is testifying about the murder of his son, and the harassment Alex played a huge role in through Infowars, Jones says he thinks Heslin is "on the Spectrum," is "slow" & being manipulated by very bad people\u201d— DJ Danarchy (@DJ Danarchy) 1659462614
The plaintiffs' lawyers, led by attorney Mark Bankston, have made sure to play these videos for the jury. And defense lawyer Andino Reynal has consistently stepped on his own dick, such as the time he pulled up a summary of the DSM-5 definition of PTSD on his phone and tried to get it admitted into evidence. He's also earned himself sanctions motions, but more on that in a moment!
The Second Bankruptcy
On Friday at 5 p.m., Reynal announced that Free Speech Systems, the company which owns Infowars, had filed for bankruptcy. This had the effect of halting all the pending trials, although US Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Lopez lifted the stay on Monday morning to allow this trial to proceed.
FSS claims to be bankrupt because it owes upwards of $60 million to its vitamin supplier, a Nevada company called PQPR Holdings Limited LLC. In the bankruptcy filing, FSS claims that PQPR never billed it for tens of millions of dollars worth of inventory. So in 2020 and 2021 — right around the time Alex Jones got those default judgments against him! — FSS executed promissory notes promising to pay PQPR back for all the pills. And with this one weird trick, FSS was magically insolvent. It also had the effect of securitizing the debt, making PQPR first in line of creditors to get paid.
\u201cAlex Jones says his main company Free Speech Systems is bankrupt because it owes $65M to its vitamin supplier PQPR holdings.\n\nCan guess who owns PQPR?\n\nSurprise it is Alex Jones and his parents!\nhttps://t.co/kwixnGZaC6\u201d— Liz Dye (@Liz Dye) 1659300591
Turns out Alex Jones and his parents own PQPR, so they've effectively securitized a debt to themselves.
Naturally, the plaintiffs are screaming bloody murder about it.
Alex Jones Takes the Stand
Meanwhile back in court, Alex Jones took the witness stand for direct examination by his lawyer Reynal. Almost immediately, he ran into trouble when his lawyer asked him about how many emails Infowars gets.
“I know that [when] we looked, to comply with the discovery, which we complied with, it was over 10 million in the inbox that we had which was unopened,” Jones answered.
Remember that Jones DID NOT comply with discovery, which is why he got the default judgment.
Jones went on to say that he doesn't have an email, but if he did, he'd get 20,000 emails a day and have to hire 15 additional staff to read them.
“It would take 10, 15, 20 people. We’d go bankrupt. Which we are now,” Jones said.
At which point all hell broke loose, because that was about five lies in 30 seconds' time, all of which appeared to be solicited by Jones's lawyer.
In point of fact, Jones did have an email. And he himself isn't bankrupt, nor is his company — even if it were a legitimate bankruptcy, the mere filing of a Chapter 11 petition doesn't "make" you bankrupt.
Judge Gamble Is PISSED
After asking the judge to dismiss the jury, Bankston demanded sanctions against Jones for giving false testimony and violating the court's order not to talk about his ability to pay damages, and against Reynal for deliberately soliciting it.
\u201cAFTER THE JURY LEFT: Bankston's motion for sanctions cont. Jones testified that he doesn't communicate by email. He said #AlexJones former counsel tampered with evidence to hide from the plaintiffs that he does have an email. Bankston said Jones continues to lie on the stand\u201d— Cathy Russon (@Cathy Russon) 1659477833
“Mr. Jones, you may not say to this jury that you complied with discovery. That is not true, you may not say it again. You may not tell this jury that you are bankrupt. That is also not true,” Judge Maya Guerra Gamble scolded Jones.
“I believe what I said was true,” Jones complained.
“You believe everything you say is true. But it isn’t. Your beliefs do not make something true," she responded furiously.
The day ended with the court promising to consider any sanctions motion once the case goes to the jury, and cautioning Jones not to "abuse" her tolerance any further when he returned to complete his testimony this morning.
Did he obey her order?
Tell ya about it soon!
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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.