A federal bankruptcy judge ruled Monday that families of Sandy Hook school mass shooting victims can move forward against Alex Jones regarding the nearly $1.5 billion he’s ordered to pay them over conspiracy theories he helped spread about the event, the Associated Press reports.
Judge Christopher Lopez’s order lifted a stay that automatically halted the lawsuits against Jones when he filed for bankruptcy. The families cannot pursue collection efforts against him just yet, however.
As the AP points out, Jones filed for Chapter 11 personal bankruptcy protection earlier this month, citing $1 billion to $10 billion in liabilities and $1 million to $10 million in assets.
From the AP:
For years, Jones described the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre as a hoax. A Connecticut jury in October awarded victims’ families $965 million in compensatory damages, and a judge later tacked on another $473 million in punitive damages. Earlier in the year, a Texas jury awarded the parents of a child killed in the shooting $49 million in damages.
Jones has laughed at the awards on his Infowars show, saying he has less than $2 million to his name and won’t be able to pay such high amounts. Those comments contradicted the testimony of a forensic economist at the Texas trial, who said Jones and Free Speech Systems have a combined net worth as high as $270 million.
The judge set the order “immediately to (i) allow the Sandy Hook Post-Trial Families’ Cases to continue to proceed to entry of final judgment and (ii) once judgments are entered, to allow appeals, if any, to proceed and the Sandy Hook Post-Trial Families to pursue, respond to and participate in any such appeals without further order of the Court.”
Read the full report over at the Associated Press.