A bankruptcy judge on Tuesday allowed the families of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre to retain a forensic investigator to probe the finances of media personality Alex Jones.
A right-wing conspiracy theorist, Jones for years has contended—and broadcast on his InfoWars program—that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary that took the lives of 20 Connecticut first graders and six adults was a hoax. He has falsely asserted that it was part of a government plot to seize Americans’ guns.
Last year, the courts found that Jones and his company Free Speech Systems are liable for $1.5 billion in defamation suits brought by several Sandy Hook victims’ family members. They said Jones’ false assertions had damaged their reputations and exposed them to threats.
On his show, Jones responded by calling the liable awards “ridiculous” and a “joke” while claiming he has “almost nothing” in terms of being able to pay the damages.
After Jones in early December filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Houston court, the Sandy Hook families said that they would need specialized assistance to review his assets, income, and ability to pay the verdicts.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Lopez in Houston approved the families’ request to retain investigators from Nardello & Co, which is providing its services on a pro bono basis.
Jones’ attorney, meanwhile, told Lopez that Jones has had some difficulty in providing complete financial reports to the bankruptcy court. Jones filed preliminary financial statements earlier in February, but listed several trusts that held unknown assets.
The Sandy Hook families are also investigating Jones’ efforts to start new businesses outside of Free Speech Systems, which filed for bankruptcy in July, including a new podcast called Alex Jones Live and a business that sells collectible silver coins.