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Sandy Hook families who won $1.5 billion settlement from Alex Jones offer to settle for $85 million


Mike Segar/Reuters/FILE

Infowars founder Alex Jones is seen after appearing at his Sandy Hook defamation trial in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 2022. The Sandy Hook families suing him say he continues to enjoy a “style of extravagant life.



CNN

Families of Sandy Hook shooting victims offered Infowars host Alex Jones to ‘get out of bankruptcy’ if he paid them a ‘small fraction’ of the more than $1 billion he owes in damages, according to a court document.

Jones filed for bankruptcy in December 2022 after being ordered to pay damages after losing two civil trials over his false allegations regarding 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 Jones and Free Speech Systems, according to a document filed Nov. 22 in federal bankruptcy court by representatives of the Sandy Hook families.

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

In the court document, the Sandy Hook families also proposed an option of an orderly liquidation of Jones’ non-exempt assets. They said in the filing that this option would likely result in “a lifetime of litigation and enforcement proceedings” for 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 whether he would rather remain embroiled in lengthy and costly litigation for years,” the families said .

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

The host 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 fees, Jones’ estate spends between $65,000 and $90,000 per month to support his lifestyle, according to the document.

The families tried to get Jones to cut expenses and sell some assets, but they were met with “resistance and pushback at almost every turn,” they said in the filing.

“In short, Jones failed in every way to fulfill his duties as a trustee mandated by the Bankruptcy Code in exchange for the reprieve he received for nearly 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 the motion a day before the families’ proposal was due to be submitted because they said they had received “short notice” of the families’ plans to file their application.

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

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

“Jones will not rush to file his plan, but he is more than willing to discuss a path out of what has been a very costly bankruptcy process for an individual,” his legal team said in the motion. .

A status conference was held Monday, according to online court records, but it is unclear whether the families’ proposal was considered.

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

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

Judge Lopez also ruled that Jones was not immune from paying more than $4.4 million in compensatory and exemplary damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of victim Jesse Lewis, aged 6, who won his civil case against Jones and his company last. summer. Another trial is needed to determine damages on the 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, were unable to appear in court before the bankruptcy proceedings began. A lawsuit for damages must therefore take place as part of their action. against Jones, Lopez ruled.

Jones has appealed both verdicts against him to state court, so the debts could change if he successfully appeals the damages he was ordered to pay.

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