Sandy Hook families offer to settle for at least $85 million with Alex Jones

Nov 28, 2023, 5:48 PM | Updated: 7:40 pm

FILE - Infowars founder Alex Jones appears in court to testify during the Sandy Hook defamation dam...

FILE - Infowars founder Alex Jones appears in court to testify during the Sandy Hook defamation damages trial at Connecticut Superior Court in Waterbury, Conn., on Sept. 22, 2022. Lawyers for several Sandy Hook families are criticizing Alex Jones' personal spending as they seek nearly $1.5 billion they won in lawsuits against the Infowars host, for his calling the 2012 Newtown school shooting that killed 26 a hoax. (Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool, File)

(Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool, File)

(CNN) — The families of Sandy Hook shooting victims offered Infowars host Alex Jones a “path out of bankruptcy” if he pays them a “small fraction” of the more than $1 billion he owes in damages, according to a court document.

Jones filed for personal bankruptcy in December 2022 after he was ordered to pay the damages when he lost two civil cases over his false claims about the elementary school massacre. His company Free Speech Systems, which operates Infowars, filed for bankruptcy last July.

The families’ proposal could help resolve the bankruptcy cases of both Jones and Free Speech Systems, according to a document filed November 22 in federal bankruptcy court by representatives for the Sandy Hook families.

The families suggested Jones pay at least $85 million over 10 years — $8.5 million per year for a decade, in addition to half of any annual income over $9 million, “with a proportionate reduction of liabilities for each year of full payment,” according to the filing.

In the court document, the Sandy Hook families also proposed an option consisting of an orderly liquidation of Jones’ non-exempt assets. They said in the filing this option would likely lead to “a lifetime of litigation and enforcement proceedings” for the Infowars host, they said in the filing.

“The time has come for Jones to choose whether he is willing to pay his creditors a reasonable portion of what they are owed or would prefer to remain embroiled in costly and time-consuming litigation for years to come,” the families said.

Jones has continued to ‘enjoy his extravagant lifestyle’

Since filing for bankruptcy, Jones has not proposed a feasible path to emergence, according to the court document.

The host has continued to “enjoy his extravagant lifestyle” and refused to stick to a reasonable budget, the Sandy Hook families claimed in the filing. Excluding professional and legal costs, Jones’ estate is spending about $65,000 to $90,000 a month to support his lifestyle, according to the document.

The families tried to make Jones reduce his spending and sell certain assets, but they were met with “resistance and refusal at almost every turn,” they said in the filing.

“In short, Jones has failed in every way to serve as the fiduciary mandated by the Bankruptcy Code in exchange for the breathing spell he has enjoyed for almost a year,” the Sandy Hook families said in the document. “His time is up.”

CNN has reached out to Jones’ attorney for comment.

In a preemptive move, Jones’ attorneys filed a motion one day before the families’ proposal was submitted because they said they had received “short notice” of the families’ plan to file.

“While Jones has not seen this draft plan, Jones’ legal and financial teams have been working on a draft plan with the goal of filing such mid-December,” his lawyers said in the motion.

In the filing, Jones’ attorneys requested a status conference, adding they believed it would be “fruitful.”

“Jones will not rush filing his plan, but is more than willing to discuss a path toward exit in what has been a very expensive bankruptcy process for an individual,” his legal team said in the motion.

A status conference was held on Monday, according to online court records, but it’s unclear if the families’ proposal was addressed.

Judge has ruled bankruptcy will not shield Jones

A federal bankruptcy judge ruled last month that bankruptcy proceedings will not shield Jones from more than $1.1 billion in damages he owes the families of Sandy Hook shooting victims who won a civil defamation case against him in Connecticut last year.

Jones was ordered to pay nearly $1.5 billion in the Connecticut case brought by the family members of eight shooting victims and a first responder. US Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Lopez in Texas ruled in favor of the families, except on the more than $322.5 million they’d been awarded in common-law punitive damages.

Judge Lopez also ruled Jones is not shielded from paying more than $4.4 million in compensatory and exemplary damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of 6-year-old victim Jesse Lewis, who won their civil jury trial against Jones and his company last summer. Another trial is needed to determine damages on additional claims, the judge said.

The parents of another victim, 6-year-old Noah Pozner, who also filed a lawsuit against Jones and his company in Texas, didn’t make it to trial before the bankruptcy proceedings got underway so a damages trial must be held in their action against Jones, Lopez ruled.

Jones has appeals moving through state court for both of the verdicts against him, so the debts could change if he were to be successful in appealing any damages he’s been ordered to pay.

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Sandy Hook families offer to settle for at least $85 million with Alex Jones