Alex Jones is called up to testify at the Travis County Courthouse during the his defamation trial, in Austin, U.S. August 2, 2022 Briana Sanchez/Pool via Reuters
- Alex Jones began moving $11,000 per day into an alleged shell company he owns in late 2021, a forensic economist testified.
- A jury ordered Jones to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages for claiming the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax.
- The forensic economist testified that Jones benefits from his debt by making him look like it’s worse than it really is.
Infowars host Alex Jones began moving $11,000 per day into an alleged shell company he controls, a forensic economist testified Friday, in late 2021 around the time that he was found liable by default in several defamation suits filed by parents of children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
This week a jury was tasked with deliberating how much Jones should pay in damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis — two of the parents who sued Jones for defamation over his false claims that the school shooting was a government-orchestrated hoax.
After the dramatic trial, the jury ordered Jones to pay more than $4 million in compensatory damages — a fraction of the $150 million that Heslin and Lewis requested. During the trial, Jones claimed that any amount over $2 million would “sink” his channel Infowars, but he was cut off by the judge presiding over the defamation damages hearing. The jury ultimately ordered Jones to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages.
On Friday, the jury heard testimony in relation to Jones’ financial standing as they continued to assess punitive damages against him — aimed at deterring similar behavior in the future.
Bernard Pettingill, a forensic economist who testified during the defamation damages hearing, said Jones’ net worth was unclear due to how little information he provided during litigation.
The forensic economist estimated Infowars revenues average $53 million annually and put Jones and his company Free Speech Systems’ net worth at $135 million to $270 million. While Free Speech Systems filed for bankruptcy last week, Pettingill said Jones’ $53 million debt to another company owned by Jones makes him look like he’s in deep financial trouble when he’s actually not.
“We can’t really put a finger on what he does for a living, how he actually makes his money,” Pettingill said but added that Jones “is a very successful man.”
Pettingill also claimed that the Infowars host was funneling $11,000 per day into a shell company he controls, with payments beginning in late September 2021. He was found liable by default in the Texas defamation cases around the same time, according to documents obtained by HuffPost on September 30, 2021.
Jones’ attorney disputed the claim and said it was a real company that matures when Jones is 74.
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