AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — An attorney for the parents of a child killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre who is suing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones over his false allegations about the attack said Thursday the committee of the United States House on January 6 had requested two years of Jones’ telephone records.
Attorney Mark Bankston told the Texas court where Jones is on trial to determine how much he owes for defaming the parents that the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising at the U.S. Capitol has requested the tapes digital. He later said outside of court that he planned to comply with the request.
A spokesperson for the committee declined to comment on Thursday.
As Jones testified at trial on Wednesday, Bankston revealed that the Infowars host’s lead attorney, Andino Reynal, mistakenly sent him the text messages for the past two years from Jones’ cellphone.
Reynal asked Judge Maya Guerra Gamble to declare a mistrial for the wrongful transfer of records and said they should have been returned and all copies destroyed. Gamble denied the request.
Reynal also accused Bankston of trying to perform “for a national audience”. He said the material included review copy of text messages over six months, from the end of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020.
Bankston said his team followed Texas civil rules of evidence and Jones’ attorneys missed their chance to properly request the return of the records.
“Mr Reynal is using a fig leaf (to cover up) his own professional misconduct,” Bankston said.
He said the records mistakenly sent to him included medical records of plaintiffs in other lawsuits against Jones.
“Mr. Jones and his intimate messages with Roger Stone are unprotected,” Bankston said, referring to former President Donald Trump’s longtime ally.
Rolling Stone, citing unnamed sources, reported On Wednesday night, the Jan. 6 committee was preparing to subpoena data from the parents’ attorneys to help investigate the deadly riot.
Bankston said in court Thursday that the committee requested the phone records, but did not subpoena them. He also said he didn’t yet know everything in the files, including whether they contained information the committee was looking for, because they contained so much information.
“We don’t know (yet) the full scope and extent” of the material, Bankston said. “We’ve certainly seen text messages from as far back as 2019. …As far as anything on this phone, it’s going to take a bit of time to figure that out.”
“The January 6 committee doesn’t have any more information than I do about what’s on that phone. I don’t know if it even covers the period they’re interested in,” he said.
Jones did not attend Thursday’s court proceedings. But on his Infowars show on Thursday, he said the recordings were from a year before January 6 and had “nothing to do with it”.
“And if anything, I say more radical things on air than in text messages. And the idea that there is some type of criminal activity there is absurd,” he said.
Austin jury decides how much Jones should pay parents of child killed in 2012 Newtown, Connecticut school massacre due to his repeated false claims and Infowars that the shooting was a hoax created by gun control advocates. Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents suing Jones, are seeking at least $150 million in damages.
Last month the January 6 Committee showed graphic and violent text messages and broadcast videos of right-wing personalities, including Jonesand others swearing that January 6 would be the day they would fight for Trump.
The committee first assigned Jones in November, demanding a deposition and documents related to his efforts to spread false information about the 2020 election and a rally on the day of the attack.
In the subpoena, Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chairman, said Jones helped organize the Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse that preceded the uprising. He also wrote that Jones repeatedly promoted Trump’s false claims of voter fraud, urged his listeners to come to Washington for the rally, and march from the Ellipse to the Capitol. Thompson also wrote that Jones “made statements implying that you were aware of President Trump’s plans for the rally.”
The nine-member panel was particularly interested in what Jones said shortly after Trump’s now infamous tweet on December 19, 2020, in which he told his followers to “be there, it’ll be wild!” January 6th.
“You went on InfoWars the same day and called the tweet ‘One of the most historic events in American history,'” the letter continues.
In January, Jones was deposed by the committee in an hour-long virtual meeting in which he said he had exercised his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination “almost 100 times.”
Associated Press writers Farnoush Amiri in Washington, DC, and Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas, contributed to this report.
Read more from the AP’s coverage of Alex Jones: https://apnews.com/hub/alex-jones