Judge denies Alex Jones request for mistrial in U.S. defamation case

Alex Jones' trial at the Travis County Courthouse, Austin, Texas
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By Jack Queen

(Reuters) - A Texas judge on Thursday denied Alex Jones's motion for a mistrial in a defamation case over the U.S. conspiracy theorist’s false claims about the Sandy Hook mass shooting.

The mistrial request came after it was disclosed at trial that Jones's lawyer accidentally sent two years of the U.S. conspiracy theorist's text messages to the plaintiffs.

Federico Andino Reynal, an attorney for Jones, told Judge Maya Guerra Gamble that attorneys for the plaintiffs should have immediately destroyed the records. An attorney for the parents, Mark Bankston, used the texts to undercut Jones’ testimony during cross-examination Wednesday.

Jones, founder of the Infowars radio show and webcast, is on trial to determine the amount of damages he owes for spreading falsehoods about the killing of 20 children and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012.

Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of slain first-grader Jesse Lewis, are seeking as much as $150 million from Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems LLC, for what their lawyer has called a "vile campaign of defamation."

Heslin told jurors on Tuesday that Jones' falsehoods had made his life “hell” and led to a campaign of harassment and death threats against him by people who believed he lied about his son’s death.

Jones previously claimed that the mainstream media and gun-control activists conspired to fabricate the Sandy Hook tragedy and that the shooting was staged using crisis actors.

Jones, who later acknowledged that the shooting took place, told the Austin jury on Wednesday that it was “100% real.”

Gamble issued a rare default judgment against Jones in the case in 2021.

(Reporting by Jack Queen; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Howard Goller)