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

A lawyer for the parents of a Sandy Hook shooting victim 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 he was on the witness stand at his defamation trial in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Jones 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.

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

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.

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 about 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 deposition during which he later said invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination “almost 100 times.”