The trail of Alex Jones' phone records to his Texas trial started in Connecticut
There’s a bit more clarity now on how a Texas attorney defending Infowars host Alex Jones got hold of records believed to contain confidential information on nine parties suing Jones in Connecticut.
Jones was sued for defamation in Texas and Connecticut by the families of children and educators killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting for repeatedly claiming the shooting was a hoax. The conspiracy theorist lost the cases by default for failing to turn over documents to the families, and earlier this month, a jury in Texas awarded the parents of one of the victims, Jesse Lewis, $49 million.
In a dramatic moment during the Texas trial, the attorney for the parents, Mark Bankston, revealed that Jones’s lawyers had mistakenly sent the plaintiffs two years’ worth of Jones’s text messages. In addition, Bankston said he also received confidential psychiatric records of the families suing Jones in the Connecticut case. Bankston says Jones’s Texas attorneys must have gotten those records – which he later said he destroyed – from Jones’s lawyer in Connecticut, Norm Pattis.
“Norm Pattis up in Connecticut was passing this file along to [Jones’ defense attorney in Texas, Andino] Reynal, and I know that because the directories contain … backups of Norm Pattis’ computer,” Bankston told a Texas judge on Aug. 4.
Through an attorney, Pattis maintains that he did nothing wrong.
“...[A]ny misconduct is vehemently denied here as Mr. Pattis’s conduct fell directly within permissible conduct under a careful reading of the confidentiality order…” according to a filing signed by a lawyer defending Pattis in disciplinary proceedings in Connecticut.
It’s now apparent that a third party had access to the file believed to contain the confidential psychiatric records. A new legal filing in the Connecticut lawsuit against Jones includes a declaration from attorney Kyung S. Lee, who represented Infowars in bankruptcy court. Lee says he sent a white external hard disk to Reynal, the attorney who defended Jones in the Texas defamation lawsuit, and that Lee got the records from Pattis.
“To this day, I do not know the nature of the confidential information because I never reviewed or analyzed the External disk,” Lee said in a declaration regarding handling and disposition of certain confidential discovery recently filed in the Connecticut case.
Lee says he sent Reynal the file at Reynal’s request.
Now Reynal and Pattis face possible discipline as a result of the files ending up in Reynal’s possession.
The Texas trial wrapped up earlier this month, but the Connecticut trial, where a jury will determine how much Jones must pay in damages, is on hold pending a last-minute federal bankruptcy filing by Jones’ company Free Speech Systems. The trial was due to start on Sept. 6.
Though the case is on pause, the plaintiffs are trying to get the case remanded back to Connecticut, and Waterbury Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis is trying to get to the bottom of the confidential records dump. She’s ordered both Pattis and Reynal to appear in her court for show-cause hearings set for Wednesday, Aug. 17.
Bellis already told Pattis and his attorney, Wesley Mead, at a prior hearing that Pattis never disclosed sending the confidential information to anyone.
“I am clearly gravely concerned about what I had to hear in headlines on the news,” Bellis said on Aug. 10. “It was never reported to me by counsel that there were any issues.”
Pattis and his attorney argue that Bellis lacks jurisdiction in ordering Pattis to appear for a show-cause hearing over this issue.
Pattis and his attorney declined comment for this story.