Jan. 6 panel asks for Alex Jones' texts
AUSTIN, Texas - An attorney representing two parents who sued conspiracy theorist Alex Jones over his false claims about the Sandy Hook massacre said Thursday that the U.S. House Jan. 6 committee has requested two years' worth of records from Jones' phone.
Attorney Mark Bankston said in court that the committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol has requested the digital records.
The House committee did not immediately return a request for comment.
A day earlier, Bankston revealed in court that Jones' attorney had mistakenly sent Bankston the last two years’ worth of texts from Jones’ cellphone.
Jones' attorney Andino Reynal sought a mistrial over the mistaken transfer of records and said they should have been returned and any copies destroyed.
He accused the Bankston of trying to perform "for a national audience." Reynal said the material included a review copy of text messages over six months from late 2019 into the first quarter of 2020.
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Attorneys for the Sandy Hook parents said they followed Texas' civil rules of evidence and that Jones’ attorneys missed their chance to properly request the return of the records.
"Mr Reynal is using a fig leaf (to cover) for his own malpractice," Bankston said.
Bankston said the records mistakenly sent to him included some medical records of plaintiffs in other lawsuits against Jones.
"Mr. Jones and his intimate messages with Roger Stone are not protected," Bankston said, referring to former President Donald Trump's longtime ally.
Rolling Stone, quoting unnamed sources, reported Wednesday evening that the Jan. 6 committee was preparing to request the data from the parents’ attorneys to assist in the investigation of the deadly riot.
A jury in Austin, Texas, is deciding how much Jones should pay to the parents of a child killed in the 2012 school massacre because of Infowars' repeated false claims that the shooting was a hoax created by advocates for gun control.
Last month, the House Jan. 6 committee showed graphic and violent text messages and played videos of right-wing figures, including Jones, and others vowing that Jan. 6 would be the day they would fight for Trump.
The Jan. 6 committee first subpoenaed Jones in November, demanding a deposition and documents related to his efforts to spread misinformation about the 2020 election and a rally on the day of the attack.
In the subpoena letter, Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chairman, said Jones helped organize the Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse that preceded the insurrection. He also wrote that Jones repeatedly promoted Trump’s false claims of election fraud, urged his listeners to go to Washington for the rally, and march from the Ellipse to the Capitol. Thompson also wrote that Jones "made statements implying that you had knowledge about the plans of President Trump with respect to the rally."
The nine-member panel was especially interested in what Jones said shortly after Trump’s now-infamous Dec. 19, 2020, tweet in which he told his supporters to "be there, will be wild!" on Jan. 6.
"You went on InfoWars that same day and called the tweet ‘One of the most historic events in American history,’" the letter continued.
In January, Jones was deposed by the committee in a hourslong, virtual meeting in which he said he exercised his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination "almost 100 times."
Associated Press journalist Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.