Alex Jones launched a failed bid to destroy text messages mistakenly sent to the lawyers of Sandy Hook families as a jury deliberates on damages owed by the Infowars host for defamation.
Mr Jones’ attorney Andino Reynal filed for an emergency motion for protection on Thursday morning and also requested a mistrial over the texts he sent in error as part of discovery.
Mr Reynal said the texts contained private medical records and communications covered by attorney-client privilege, and accused the plaintiff’s attorney Mark Bankston of looking at files unrelated to the case.
“We have a situation here which is akin to me mistakenly giving him the key to a room, and he opens the door to the room and instead of finding what he expected find other doors,” Mr Reynal said.
“It appears they want to have a mistrial.”
Mr Bankston told the court that he had notified Mr Reynal that he had received the text messages, and that he had every opportunity to identify privileged information.
“Mr Reynal is using a fig leaf to put over his own malpractice,” he said. “Things like Mr Jones’ intimate messages with Roger Stone are not confidential.”
Judge Maya Guerra Gamble responded by telling Mr Reynal: “I don’t think you have complied with the protection order. I’ll let you do so now if there are documents you’d like to mark as confidential.”
The judge said she would review any documents marked as confidential and make a decision but will not seal the entire phone. She did, however, order the medical records to be deleted by the plaintiffs’ lawyers, which they said they have already done.
Judge Gamble added that the phone data should have been disclosed “a year or so ago or longer and then there would have been plenty of time” for review.
She then denied the move for a mistrial.
On Wednesday, Mr Bankston, who represents Sandy Hook parents Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, revealed he had been in advertently sent thousands of Mr Jones’ text messages going back three years.
Mr Bankston confronted Mr Jones with the text messages as he accused him of lying about not having communicated about the Sandy Hook tragedy during the discovery phase of the trial.
Within minutes of the texts messages being revealed, the House committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol began preparing to subpoena the messages, a source told Rolling Stone.
Mr Bankston said he intended to cooperate with law enforcement and US government officials who wanted to view the messages. On Thursday, the lawyer said he intended to turn over messages to the January 6 committee “immediately”.
A jury has begun deliberations on how much Mr Jones must pay Mr Heslin and Ms Lewis. They are seeking $150m after testifying their lives had been upended by the Sandy Hook conspiracy theories spread by Mr Jones.