As much fun as it’s been to watch ultra-conservative Infowars host Alex Jones repeatedly fall on his face during his defamation trial, the implications of his and his lawyers’ spectacular failure are so much greater than that cathartic joy. Evidence uncovered as part of the defamation lawsuit is now reportedly being sought by law enforcement—including the January 6 committee—and could be the means of proving another link between former President Donald Trump and the organized insurrectionists who attacked the capitol in 2021.
For the past 10 years, Jones has emotionally tortured the parents of the murdered Sandy Hook children by spreading the false conspiracy theory on his Infowars YouTube channel that the 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax. Jones’s fans and followers subsequently stalked, harassed, and threatened the Sandy Hook parents, a uniquely cruel hobby that Jones seemingly encouraged by continuing to promote the lie.
Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose six-year-old son Jesse was murdered in the Sandy Hook shooting, sued Jones for defamation and asked for $150 million in damages. Late Thursday, August 4, a jury decided that Jones’s Infowars owed Heslin and Lewis a little over $4 million. Jurors will return to the Austin-based courthouse on Friday to consider punitive damages, per The New York Times.
However, the trial to determine exactly how much Jones owed Heslin and Lewis is what has provided the stunning display of courtroom incompetence and potential casual perjury now circulating on social media. The most viral moment in a trial chock-full of them was when one of Heslin and Lewis’s lawyers, Mark Bankston, revealed that Jones’s own attorneys had accidentally sent him a digital copy of every text message Jones had sent in the past two years—a few of which, Bankston claims, prove that Jones had lied under oath. If Jones had personally emailed Bankston an attachment labeled “Alex Jones Crimes & Lies 2020-2022.zip,” it couldn’t have been more damning or embarrassing.
And it’s not just bad news for Jones’s defamation suit. Bankston also announced that he has received requests from “various federal agencies and law enforcement” for copies of the cell phone data, which he intends to hand over immediately unless blocked by Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, who is overseeing the case. Jones’s attorney Federico Andino Reynal asked Judge Gamble to order the data destroyed on the grounds of attorney-client privilege; however, Bankston argued that writing “please disregard” in an email does not count as citing privilege, via Vice.
Bankston dropped another surprising nugget in his argument before Judge Gamble. “Things like Mr. Jones and his intimate messages with Roger Stone are not confidential. They are not trade secrets,” he said. Stone is, of course, one of Trump’s closest advisers and a recipient of one of the former president’s much-sought-after pardons.
Bankston’s choice to name-drop Stone before the judge could have been random. But it seems more likely to me that the lawyer was hinting at a source of information that Merrick Garland et al. might find especially pertinent right now. Stone is a notorious-enough figure in Trumpland that his name arouses immediate suspicion.