HELENA — A Sidney Tory pastor who is being sued for libel has filed for bankruptcy, blocking a libel suit brought by a transgender activist who accused him of lying about her and threatening her and her lawyers.
Monday’s filing in U.S. bankruptcy court by Pastor Jordan “JD” Hall also came just two days before a scheduled hearing in state court on the libel plaintiff’s request to sanction Hall for alleged public threats of violence. and other statements about the case and the presiding judge. .
Hall’s bankruptcy filing included few details, but said he had assets of less than $50,000 and debts ranging from $100,000 to $500,000. He filed under Chapter 7 of the federal bankruptcy codes, which relates to liquidation of assets and distribution of proceeds to creditors, rather than reorganization of debts.
Hall’s attorney in the defamation lawsuit, Matthew Monforton, said he did not represent Hall in the bankruptcy case and had no comment.
A bankruptcy filing puts any further legal action against the person filing for bankruptcy on hold.
Lawyers for transgender activist, Adrian Jawort of Billings, said on Tuesday that Hall was trying to escape responsibility for his actions and that they would “continue to seek the truth, regardless of Mr. Hall’s tactics.”
Hall, the founder of the online Montana Daily Gazette, published an article last spring that Jawort, of Billings, confronted a state senator in the halls of the Capitol during the 2021 Montana Legislature and that the senator was to be escorted to safety by the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate.
Jawort said the swap never happened and sued Hall last September for defamation. Since then, Hall has made numerous public statements challenging Jawort and his attorneys and criticizing the presiding judge in the case, Great Falls District Judge Elizabeth Best.
Last month, Jawort’s attorneys asked Best to discipline Hall for making threats and taking other public actions to “disrupt and undermine the proceedings.”
A hearing on the sanctions request was scheduled for Wednesday in front of Best in Great Falls.