The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection could soon get hold of text messages from Alex Jones, the right-wing conspiracy theorist who is on trial this week for spreading lies about the Sandy Hook mass shooting.
Mark Bankston, the lawyer representing two parents whose child was killed in the 2012 massacre, and sued Jones for defamation, on Thursday told a judge presiding over the trial he intends to turn over text messages he was accidentally sent by Jones’ attorneys.
“I am under request from various federal agencies and law enforcement to provide” the records, Bankston told Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, according to CNN. “Absent a ruling from you saying you cannot do that ... I intend to do so immediately following this hearing.”
Bankston said the records included texts Jones had exchanged with Republican political strategist and Donald Trump ally Roger Stone.
“Things like Mr. Jones and his intimate messages with Roger Stone are not confidential. They are not trade secrets,” Bankston said, according to The New York Times.
While Bankston did not name every agency requesting the records, he said in court: “I’ve been asked by the January 6 committee to turn the documents over,” CNN reported.
Bankston on Wednesday said Jones’ attorneys “messed up,” and shared with him a digital copy of Jones’ cellphone, including every text message the Infowars host has sent over the past two years. Bankston told the court Jones’ attorneys did not assert privilege over the records.
“I believe that there is absolutely nothing, nothing, that Mr. Reynal has done to fulfill his obligations to protect his client and prevent me from doing that,” Bankston said of Jones’ attorney Andino Reynal.
Reynal is requesting a mistrial over the records that ended up with the plaintiffs’ laywers, according to NPR.
CNN reported Judge Gamble told Bankston to hold off from sharing the text messages while the court assesses an argument to stop them from being transferred to the committee.
Jones was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee in November 2021, along with Roger Stone, and others involved in organizing rallies challenging the result of the 2020 presidential election.
“We need to know who organized, planned, paid for, and received funds related to those events, as well as what communications organizers had with officials in the White House and Congress,” committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement at the time.
While Jones and his security guard, who was also subpoenaed by the committee for his own phone records, sued to challenge the committee’s request in December 2021, Jones appeared before the committee a month later.
Jones told his show he provided “unofficial testimony” to the Jan. 6 panel in January, adding he answered most questions with invoking the Fifth Amendment, according to Politico.
Jones recalled Jan. 6 investigators were in possession of text messages he had exchanged with Caroline Wren and Cindy Chafian, who both organized a rally for Donald Trump on Jan. 5, Politico reported.
Jones was ordered to pay over $4 million Thursday to the parents of a child killed in Sandy Hook, and the jury will reconvene Friday to determine what the Infowars host will have to pay in punitive damages.