After Wednesday’s revelation that an attorney for Alex Jones accidentally turned over a copy of his entire cellphone to the lawyers suing him on behalf of Sandy Hook parents, a couple of things were obvious. The first was that Alex Jones must be turning redder than ever; the second was that the Congressional committee holding hearings on the January 6 insurrection would probably want those records, too. In an emergency hearing this morning, an attorney for the Sandy Hook parents, Mark Bankston, confirmed that he’d had requests from “several law enforcement agencies,” including the January 6 committee, to turn over the phone data, and that he intends to do so “immediately.”
As the jury deliberates over how much Jones will be forced to pay in damages to the first set of Sandy Hook plaintiffs, a separate drama is playing out over the phone. In an emergency motion this morning, Jones’ attorney Federico Reynal asked Judge Maya Guerra Gamble to order Bankston and the other plaintiffs’ attorneys to destroy the phone data and return everything they have to him. “I hate to be put into this position by the conduct of plaintiffs counsel, but it appears they want to have a mistrial,” he told the judge.
Bankston retorted that Reynal had sent him the enormous cache of documents, then followed up only with the words “Please disregard” in an email, which, he argued, is legally meaningless. Reynal was required to cite specific privileged documents within 10 days, he said, and state why they were privileged and confidential. Reynal never did that, Bankston added. The phrase “please disregard” on their own “creates no legal duty on me whatsoever,” he said.
Judge Gamble did order some data deleted—namely, confidential psychiatric records for nine plaintiffs, all Sandy Hook parents—in another case. Bankston said that data had already been destroyed, and noted that Reynal hasn’t yet made an appearance in the case and shouldn’t necessarily have had it (the files were clearly passed on from another lawyer previously on the case).
Gamble then asked which specific law enforcement agencies wanted the phone data, and Bankston confirmed the January 6 committee. Jones testified before the committee earlier this year, and Rolling Stone reported yesterday that the committee immediately began preparing a subpoena for his phone data after learning it existed.
Reynal got in one more parting shot before the hearing ended, accusing Bankston of “rooting around” in privileged attorney-client communications stored on the phone.
“The two of you have been with me what feels like 24 hours a day for two weeks,” Gamble said, noting that she wasn’t sure Bankston would even have time to root around.
The jury is expected to continue deliberating through today.