Judge blocks Sandy Hook parents from paying Alex Jones

Judge blocks Sandy Hook parents from paying Alex Jones

A federal bankruptcy judge on Thursday blocked efforts by the parents of a Sandy Hook victim to begin collecting the $50 million won in a lawsuit against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Earlier this month, lawyers for the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis obtained an order from a Texas state judge allowing them to immediately begin collecting assets from Jones’ company, Free Speech Systems, after the reorganization the bankrupt company failed.

However, on Thursday, Southern District of Texas Judge Christopher Lopez put the brakes on those efforts when he said the state judge’s decision conflicts with federal bankruptcy law. Lopez joined a new court-appointed trustee who accused some Sandy Hook families of attempting a “value-destroying cash grab” before completing the sale of Infowars’ parent company.

Lopez said the receiver would proceed to sell Jones’ assets, including Jones’ media site Infowars, and then distribute the proceeds equally among all of Jones’ creditors. Creditors include other relatives of Sandy Hook victims who have been awarded more than $1.4 billion in lawsuits over Jones’ false claims that the 2012 mass shooting was a hoax.

Alex Jones deserves to lose a lot more than a billion dollars

Mark Bankston, who represents Jesse’s parents, Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, told The Daily Beast that his clients are “frustrated that they won’t be allowed to pursue their rights in state courts after all.”

“It appears this case will remain in limbo, much to Mr. Jones’s delight, while the other group of plaintiffs insist they are entitled to almost all of the recovery, refusing to treat all parents equally,” said Bankston, who represents five clients in three cases. . “Our clients have repeatedly offered to act as equal partners in collections with other plaintiffs against Jones, with all parents collecting an equal amount, but we have been continually rebuffed.”

The Associated Press reported that during his Infowars show Thursday, Jones said he plans to restart his shows on another platform after Infowars closes in the next few months. He called Lewis and Heslin’s efforts in state court “illegal.”

His bankruptcy attorney, Vickie Driver, said in a statement to The Daily Beast: “Mr. Jones spent over two years trying to pay the plaintiffs more than he had ever made, and nothing was enough. He continues to work with the trustee to maximize the remaining value of his estate and free speech assets for the benefit of plaintiffs who want to be paid and is not just seeking to silence him. As Judge Lopez said on June 14, these cases were never about shutting down his show, but about trying to pay creditors.”

The shocking block is the latest legal maneuver in an ongoing saga to collect money from Jones in two separate lawsuits — one in Texas, where he lives, and one in Connecticut, where the school shooting took place. While the Sandy Hook parents were collectively awarded $1.4 billion in 2022 for emotional distress and defamation caused by Jones’ fraudulent claims, they have yet to see any of the money after he filed for bankruptcy following the verdicts doubles.

NBC reported that the families in the Connecticut case also opposed the Texas plaintiffs’ request to ask a state judge to compel Free Systems to hand over “all the money,” arguing it could set off a fight over which the plaintiffs they will receive Jones’s goods.

“To be clear, Connecticut families support an orderly liquidation of FSS assets and pro rata distributions among FSS creditors holding valid claims,” ​​the families wrote in a filing this week in support of the trustee’s emergency request. “Texas families, quite clearly, don’t have the same goals. Rather, they are seeking preferential treatment and huge recoveries in an attempt to win the very race to court they claimed to be avoiding on June 14.

However, Bankston told The Daily Beast that his clients “favored a bankruptcy plan that would pay the families tens of millions, forcing Jones to never speak about Sandy Hook again, but the other plaintiffs also rejected that plan.” . He added that his team will continue to push for “resolution, closure and peace” for their clients.

“Connecticut families have always sought a fair and equitable distribution of Free Speech System assets for all families, and today’s decision puts us back on that path,” Christopher Mattei, an attorney representing the families in the Connecticut lawsuit, told the AP. .

On Thursday, Lopez seemed aware of the growing rift between the two sets of grieving families and declined to begin resolving the dispute in court.

“Let’s follow the rules, let’s follow the code and let’s follow the order,” he said.

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