Friday’s hearing also shed light on assets the parents are targeting as they proceed to the next stage — jury trials that will determine how much money Jones and his InfoWars media system must pay for defamation and emotional distress caused by broadcasts that called the 2012 school shooting a hoax.
Court documents show that the InfoWars online store sold more that $165 million in herbal supplements, videos and other products in three years starting in 2016.
“This does not even account for InfoWars’ numerous other revenue streams, which has included advertisers, click-through promotion revenue, Amazon.com sales, Ebay.com sales, YouTube monetization, donation drives, and others,” the parents’ lawyers said in a recent court filing.
According to information Jones provided in December as part of the case, he listed more than $6.2 million in assets, including three properties worth about $2.35 million and about $458,000 in the bank. He also said he owned $206,000 in cryptocurrency, $150,000 worth of vehicles and an exchange trust with $3.1 million from a November home sale.
A judge took the rare step of defaulting Alex Jones in defamation lawsuits for his and his companies’ “failure to produce critical material information that the plaintiffs needed to prove their claims.”
He also said he was the “income beneficiary” of a $25.9 million interest-only note “due to sale of closely held business interest.”
Jones, however, estimated his net worth at a negative $20.6 million due to equity in a loan owed by his Free Speech Systems corporation.
Free Speech Systems, according to Jones, has about $525,000 in the bank, inventory worth about $1.3 million and $2.1 million in fixed and intangible assets.
Jones said the company, however, had a negative net worth of $52.9 million due mainly to a large loan owed to PQPR Holdings Inc., which the parents’ lawyers referred to as “another shell company … owned and controlled by Alex Jones” in court documents.
“Given the history of this suit and Mr. Jones’ lack of candor, Plaintiffs also expect that he has additional assets squirreled away, likely in some other shell company as yet undisclosed,” the parents’ lawyers told the judge in the court filing.
Friday’s hearing focused on complaints, raised by the Sandy Hook parents in the same filing, that the corporate representative who Free Speech Systems designated to answer questions during a December deposition failed to adequately prepare, rendering the exercise a waste of time and a “farce.”
Mark Bankston, a lawyer for the parents, played several deposition videos and introduced more than 40 pages of transcripts showing InfoWars producer Daria Karpova unable to answer eight questions that had been submitted long before she sat down to represent Jones and his companies in the deposition.
When Jones’ lawyer, Jacquelyn Blott, insisted that Karpova answered questions to the best of her ability, state District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble interrupted to strongly disagree.
The deposition records show that Karpova failed to take even the most basic steps to prepare for the deposition, the judge said.
“She didn’t even watch the videos that were the itemized topics for this deposition,” Guerra Gamble said. “She should’ve had extensive conversations with Mr. Jones to fill in the gaps, but she testified that she had not talked to him.”
The hearing ended with the judge ordering Jones to pay all costs incurred by the parents’ lawyers for the Karpova deposition and Friday’s hearing.
Guerra Gamble also ordered new depositions by fully prepared corporate representatives to be conducted within a month, and she walked Jones’ lawyers through Bankston’s eight questions to specify the information she wanted addressed.
Those questions included who provided information used in InfoWars’ segments on Sandy Hook, who produced the videos, what internal editorial discussions were held about Sandy Hook and details about the company’s business structure.
Texas courts had previously hit Jones and his InfoWars media system with $150,000 in penalties for failing to provide required pretrial information to the parents’ lawyers — a pattern of abuse that prompted Guerra Gamble to enter a default judgment against Jones in October, awarding victory in the lawsuits to the parents.
Jones also lost lawsuits filed in Connecticut for similar behavior, with a judge granting default judgments in favor of a group of parents in November.
The next step is to determine, via jury trials, how much Jones and InfoWars must pay the parents.
On Friday, the judge delayed one of those trials from March 28 to April 25, setting aside two weeks for consolidated lawsuits by Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis.
Trial on a separate lawsuit by Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, parents of 6-year-old Noah Pozner, remains set for August, the judge said.
The children were among the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook that left 20 children and six adults dead in Newtown, Conn.