Alex Jones’ Infowars survived a judge’s order, but the conspiracy outlet could still be shut down

Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle/Getty Images

Alex Jones’ notorious conspiracy platform Infowars may have survived a key decision from a federal judge last week, but the platform’s future is far from secure.

A bankruptcy judge in Houston on Friday allowed Jones to liquidate his personal assets to help pay the nearly $1.5 billion that he owes the families of the Sandy Hook massacre victims but dismissed the separate bankruptcy case of Infowars’ parent company Free Speech Systems.

The dismissal is not a reflection on Jones or whatever the judge might feel about Infowars. Rather, it was a question of economic reality – how the judge could help the families get the most value out of Jones and Infowars.

“This case is one of the more difficult cases I’ve had,” Judge Christopher Lopez said during a lengthy and at times emotional ruling. “I was never asked today to make a decision to shut down a show or not. That was never going to happen today one way or another.”

What the judge decided

Lopez approved Jones’ request to liquidate his personal assets to help pay off his debts, but dismissed a request to “convert” Free Speech Systems’ bankruptcy to liquidation.

Some of the Sandy Hook families had requested the judge move to liquidate Jones’ Free Speech Systems company. They argued it would not only dismantle a platform that had caused so much agony but would also ensure a fair way to dole out the proceeds of a sell-off.

But a handful of other families had argued against liquidation.

The reasoning: Liquidation is a lengthy and costly process, and the families have yet to see a dime from the more than a billion dollars Jones owes them. Lopez noted that this may be one of the longest-running cases of its kind in the country.

Because the company is not in liquidation, the families can immediately go after Free Speech System’s assets in state courts, a much faster and less costly process (liquidation would have involved various bankruptcy professionals who take a lot of fees).

“I have to do what’s in the best interest of credito rs,” Lopez said on Friday, adding, “When you look at it, I think creditors are better served in pursuing their state court rights.”

Since Jones is the owner of Free Speech Systems, and Jones himself is in bankruptcy, the families can go after the company’s assets.

In a sadly ironic twist, the more money Jones makes by broadcasting his lies and conspiracy theories on Infowars, the more of the nearly $1.5 billion he owes to the families could actually be paid.

What happens to Infowars

For now, nothing changes for Jones’ Infowars shows. The company can continue operating, and Jones is free to say what he wants – including commenting about Sandy Hook – as he wishes.

But Jones’ personal stake in the company is part of his own personal liquidation.

Because of Jones’ bankruptcy, Free Speech Systems is now in the hands of a court-appointed trustee. It’s not clear what that trustee will do - either keep Free Speech Systems operating or sell it off.

“I do not now own Infowars,” Jones said during an “emergency” show on Saturday. “It is now controlled by the court trustee. I am the CEO and the decision maker.”

Jay Westbrook, a University of Texas bankruptcy law professor, said the personal bankruptcy trustee will take over Jones’s interest in Free Speech Systems.

“(The trustee) will work to maximize the value of Jones’s shares for the benefit of his creditors, including the possibility of selling Jones’s shares,” Westbrook said.

Jones said on Saturday he estimates the company has up to five more months before some sort of sale.

“If we make it a few more months… if we make it that, we’ll survive, under new management and ownership but I’ll still be as host here, I’ll still be in control of what I say or I won’t be here,” Jones said on Saturday. “But we just got more runway. It’s like in a video game where you’re down to one life, you get another life.”

What happens next

Still uncertain is what sort of power the court-appointed trustee has over Free Speech Systems. Lopez will likely schedule a new hearing to determine the trustee’s powers.

But no matter what happens to the company, Jones still owes nearly $1.5 billion. If Free Speech Systems continues operating and making money for Jones, those funds will ultimately need to go to paying the families.

“Once Jones’s bankruptcy case ends, the families can start to use state court collection tools (garnishment, attachment, foreclosure) to get paid from income that Jones earns and any property he acquires since he filed for bankruptcy until their judgments are paid in full,” Marie Reilly, professor of bankruptcy law at Penn State University, told CNN.

While Jones now acknowledges the Sandy Hook massacre took place, he is free to continue espousing dangerous rhetoric and conspiracy theories on his platforms.
In recent days, Jones has fantasized on his show about executing Dr. Anthony Fauci, the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and others who supposedly “lied to Trump.”

But even if Infowars is shut down, Jones can continue posting on his X account after it was restored last year by Elon Musk or join other high-profile platforms.

Earlier this month, Tucker Carlson, the far-right former Fox News host, announced Jones would join him for a stop on his upcoming national live speaking tour.

Days later, Jones was quietly dropped from the tour without explanation.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com

Advertisement