Jan. 6 committee requests Alex Jones text messages from Sandy Hook lawyer

A lawyer for the parents of a Sandy Hook shooting victim who are suing Alex Jones said Thursday that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol has requested his text messages and phone records that were inadvertently disclosed by his legal team.

While Jones was on the witness stand at his defamation trial in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday, he learned that his lawyers accidentally sent two years of text messages from his cellphone to Mark Bankston, an attorney for the plaintiffs — and then failed to note that the messages were protected under attorney-client privilege.

Bankston said in court Thursday that the committee has requested the text messages and related documents, and that he intends to turn them over unless he’s instructed not to do so.

Mark Bankston, a lawyer for Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, asks Alex Jones about his emails and text messages in the courtroom.
Mark Bankston asks Alex Jones about his emails and text messages during his defamation trial in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday. (Briana Sanchez/Pool via Reuters)

“I’ve been asked to turn them over,” Bankston informed Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, who is overseeing the trial in Austin. “I certainly intend to do that unless you tell me not to.”

Bankston said he also intends to share the messages with lawyers for the plaintiffs in a separate defamation trial against Jones in Connecticut.

Gamble said she would give Jones’s attorneys time to research whether they have a legal argument to block the transmission of those text messages.

The judge denied a request by Federico Andino Reynal, Jones’s lead lawyer, for a mistrial. Reynal told Gamble that Bankston should have immediately destroyed the records.

Bankston said he informed Reynal of the apparent gaffe but that Reynal did not take any steps to identify the messages as privileged or protected.

Alex Jones on the witness stand.
Jones under cross-examination on Wednesday. (Briana Sanchez/Pool via Reuters)

Thursday’s exchange came as the jury was deliberating the case against Jones brought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of 6-year-old boy Jesse Lewis, who was killed along with 19 other children and six adult educators in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Heslin and Lewis are seeking $150 million in damages from Jones and his media company Free Speech Systems for falsely claiming the 2012 massacre was a hoax.

The Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed Jones in November over his role in promoting the events that led to the deadly riot as well as his ties to Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers militia.

In January, Jones sat for a deposition during which he later said he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination “almost 100 times.”