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InfoWars files for bankruptcy in the face of lawsuits over Sandy Hook shooting denial

FILE — Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones rallies pro-Trump supporters outside the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, Nov. 5, 2020, in Phoenix. Jones has agreed to appear at a deposition in Connecticut to answer questions in a lawsuit by relatives of some of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims, his lawyers said Thursday, March 31, 2022, a day after a judge ordered fines against Jones for defying orders to attend a deposition last week despite his claim of illness. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)
Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones rallies pro-Trump supporters outside the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, on Nov. 5, 2020, in Phoenix.

Updated April 18, 2022 at 12:05 PM ET

The media outlet InfoWars filed for bankruptcy in Texas on Sunday in the face of mounting legal pressure over comments made by founder and host, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Jones, who's repeatedly called the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut a hoax, has been sued several times by the victims' family members and others for defamation and emotional distress. Twenty children and six educators were killed in the attack.

His comments and similar ones made by other InfoWars employees are the primary cause of the "financial distress" now facing InfoWars and its related holding companies, according to the chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Texas.

InfoWars, which described itself in court records as a "conspiracy-oriented website and media company," said it had $50,000 or less in assets and between $1 million and $10 million in liabilities.

Jones, InfoWars and related holding companies have so far spent $10 million on legal fees and costs, the filing said.

Courts in Connecticut and Texas have found Jones liable in several defamation cases brought by Sandy Hook families and others, though damages have not been determined in either case.

In its filing, InfoWars said that there is a "substantial likelihood" that once damages are determined in the Texas case, which is scheduled to begin jury selection next week, there will be nothing left for the Connecticut plaintiffs given the companies' "limited cash on hand."

InfoWars is also a defendant in several other lawsuits, including one involving an article written about the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., and another alleging that Jones diverted some of his assets to companies owned by himself or family members.

It was unclear what effect the bankruptcy filing would have on InfoWars. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NPR.

The companies are asking the court to consider their application on an emergency basis by April 22. Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.