Yesterday a jury decided that Alex Jones would pay two plaintiffs in a defamation case (a case he lost by default because he refused to respond to discovery requests) $4.1 million dollars. But as I pointed out yesterday, that was only the compensatory damages. Today the jury is back at work deciding on the punitive damages. So today the plaintiffs attorneys presented an expert who offered his best guess as to how much revenue Jones’ business are bringing in every year.
Bernard Pettingill, Jr., a forensic economist and former economics professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, testified on Friday that Mr. Jones “is a very successful man” and that his and Free Speech Systems’ combined net worth likely fell between $135 million and $270 million…
Mr. Pettingill’s testimony on Friday, as well as the Free Speech Systems bankruptcy filing, yielded several key observations about Mr. Jones’s finances, including:
Infowars averaged $53.2 million in annual revenue between September 2015 and December 2018, Mr. Pettingill said.
Since then, there has been a “nice healthy increase” in the company’s revenue, including from sales of survivalist merchandise and supplements, and it brought in more than $64 million last year, he said.
At one point, Mr. Jones was paying himself an average of $6 million a year, Mr. Pettingill said.
I’ve never listened to Alex Jones show. I assumed he was successful in the way that other fringe YouTubers are successful. Maybe he made a million or two a year, which is a lot of money. I had no idea this guy was raking in $64 million per year and is Nancy Pelosi rich. I guess a lot of it comes from supplement sales and other merchandise. Back in 2018 the NY Times reported Jones hired his father to take over the business.
he recruited his father, David R. Jones, to leave his dental practice and help manage the family business, negotiating a deal for Dr. Jones to be paid what he was making previously — $300,000 to $500,000 a year — plus an additional bonus of 20 percent of the profits from the entities he created.
When Dr. Jones came on board, the business was in disarray. In court testimony, he said he found a series of “green notebooks stuck in a cabinet” outlining a number of entities that had been established over the years.
Dr. Jones set about evaluating the business, getting the corporate entities sorted out, and creating opportunities to expand the supplement business.
The company struck deals with a number of manufacturers, slapping its Infowars Life label on a range of products. A 2014 agreement with one of its most prominent suppliers, Global Healing Center, shows that the manufacturer made at least eight products for the brand, including “Super Male Vitality” a private label of Global Health’s Androtrex, purchased wholesale for $14.99 and advertised on the Infowars Store for $69.95.
Starting after he lost this and several other defamation cases by default, Jones began transferring $11,000 per day out of his company’s accounts and into something called PQPR. There is a note claiming that Jones’ main company Free Speech Systems owes PQPR about $53 million. But according to Pettingill, PQPR is a shell company with no employees. It’s basically just Alex Jones himself. Jones’ attorneys have denied this and claimed that PQPR is a real company.
Today the plaintiff’s attorney is asking for $145 million in punitive damages and asking jurors to make the judgment painful enough that Alex Jones will hesitate to do something like this again. Jones’ attorney suggested a punitive verdict of $270,000.
The jury isn’t required to reach a verdict on the punitive damages today but they likely will just so they don’t have to return to court Monday.