The InfoWars founder was sued by the parents of Jesse Lewis, a victim of the Sandy Hook shooting, after Jones claimed the event was a hoax and the family members were “crisis actors.” At least nine families have sued Jones for defamation since 2018. Jones has since conceded that the massacre was “100% real.”
On Wednesday, the plaintiff’s attorney, Mark Bankston, revealed that Jones’ counsel had accidentally sent him all of the text messages on Jones’ phone, including communiques with Roger Stone and various other figures connected to the rally and later riot at the Capitol building on January 6, 2021.
“I am under request from various federal agencies and law enforcement to provide [the records],” Bankston told Judge Maya Guerra Gamble. “Absent a ruling from you saying you cannot do that … I intend to do so immediately following this hearing.”
Jones has been a person of interest to the January 6 Committee for some time; Jones was a prominent participant in the protest on January 6, but did not storm the Capitol. The committee issued a subpoena for Jones’ testimony and records in November 2021. Jones gave the committee an hours-long virtual deposition in January where he invoked his 5th amendment right “almost 100 times.”
Texas rules give lawyers 10 days to claim that privileged material was shared in error, which would require the opposing party to return the information. When Jones’ attorney, Andino Reynal, was notified of the slip up, he replied “please disregard” in an email, which he argues should have been sufficient to remove it from the record.
Bankston disagreed, arguing that Reynal would have been required to specify which records were privileged and provided grounds for why they should be.
Simply saying “please disregard … creates no … legal duty on me whatsoever,” Bankston said.
Reynal requested a mistrial on Thursday as a result of the accidental leak. He also filed an emergency motion for the destruction of the documents, which Judge Maya Guerra Gamble denied.
Gamble did allow Reynal to file a request that certain texts remain confidential, although she would have to approve that request and she “wasn’t sure she could block a subpoena.”
The defamation trial concluded on Thursday. Jones was ordered to pay the plaintiffs $4.1 million.