Infowars’ parent company has been cleared by a bankruptcy court to join a libel damages lawsuit over its lies about the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, dropping previous opposition to participate in the case.
Judge Christopher Lopez’s ruling sets up Free Speech Systems LLC, owned by right-wing conspirator Alex Jones, to stand trial in early September in Connecticut state court on the amount of damages to be paid to the families victims of the shooting.
Free Speech initially declined to participate in the trial, but backed out after a settlement with Jones and the families.
Lopez, who is overseeing Free Speech’s Chapter 11 case in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, said Monday he would lift pending litigation protection for Free Speech Systems.
Generally, litigation against a Chapter 11 debtor is stayed in a bankruptcy unless otherwise authorized by a judge. Earlier this month, Free Speech asked the court to deny the Connecticut families’ request to allow the company to participate in the state’s lawsuit. Free Speech filed court documents on Sunday indicating its willingness to stand trial.
The proceedings in Connecticut could add to the potential damages owed by Free Speech and Jones to the families of the victims for labeling them as crisis actors hired for a hoax.
Earlier this month, a Texas trial court found Jones and Free Speech liable for nearly $50 million in damages to parents Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis for falsely claiming that the shooting death of their son Jesse Lewis had been fabricated.
Lopez noted that her order does not permit the free speech suit for any potential damages that might be awarded in the Connecticut case.
The judge also approved Free Speech requests to hire Pattis & Smith LLC and The Reynal Law Firm PC for the Connecticut trial and how the costs will be split between Jones and Free Speech.
A Connecticut bankruptcy court earlier this month ruled that Connecticut’s libel case against Jones could also go forward.
Jones has not filed for bankruptcy protection. Free Speech filed for bankruptcy in July.
The deal is In re Free Speech Systems LLC, Banker. SD Tex., n° 22-60043, hearing of 29/08/22.