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Jan. 6 committee requests copies of Alex Jones text messages

By Pedro Oliveira Jr. & Daniel Uria
Jan. 6 committee requests copies of Alex Jones text messages
Right-wing media personality Alex Jones is seen in July on a video screen during a public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol. The committee is now seeking the contents of Jones' cell phone after his lawyers mistakenly sent it to the plaintiff's attorney. Pool Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 4 (UPI) -- The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection on the Capitol on Thursday requested copies of a trove of data that embattled conspiracy theorist Alex Jones denied still having -- but were made public in an apparent mistake by his legal team.

The revelation came out in a Texas courtroom during the defamation trial over Jones' years-long lies about the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as a jury ruled that he must pay the parents of one of the victims $4.1 million.

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Lawyers for Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of Jesse Lewis, who was killed in the shooting, sued Jones for damages, saying they have received requests from "various federal agencies and law enforcement" for copies of the two years of text messages, which Jones had previously denied having.

Attorney Mark Bankston, who represents the victim's family, revealed that Jones' legal team sent him the data last week in an apparent mistake.

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"That is how I know you lied to me when you said you didn't have text messages about Sandy Hook," Bankston told Jones in court, as reported by CNN.

Jones' attorney, Andino Reynal, pushed for a mistrial over the incident, but the motion was denied in court on Thursday.

"We have a situation here that's 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 to find he sees other doors," Reynal told Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

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On air after the incident, Jones said it was "so incredibly sick" for his "damn lawyers" to have sent the incriminating information.

Bankston said Thursday he intended to share the text records with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, which had previously spoken to Jones about his involvement on that day.

The lawyer declined to share what other agencies have asked for the documents.

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"Absent a ruling from you saying you cannot do that ... I intend to do so immediately following this hearing," Bankston told the judge. "I believe that there is absolutely nothing, nothing, that Mr. Reynal has done to fulfill his obligations to protect his client and prevent me from doing that."

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Despite all evidence to the contrary, Jones mounted a campaign on his Infowars platform claiming the shooting was a hoax, staged with actors, to be used in a so-called conspiracy to promote gun restrictions.

Jones admitted under oath on Wednesday that the massacre which left 20 children and six teachers dead in Newtown, Conn., was "100 percent real."

Helin and Lewis sought $150 million in damages from Jones, while Jones' lawyer, Andino Reynal, asked jurors to award the parents a total of $8 -- $1 for each of the eight harms the court had already established that Jones and his company Free Speech Systems had caused them.

On Thursday, the jurors agreed to award Heslin $50,000 for past damage and $10,000 for future damage to his reputation, as well as $50,000 for past anguish.

Each parent was also awarded $1.5 million for past mental anguish and an additional $500,000 for future anguish.

Ten of the 12 jurors agreed with the amount, the minimum required for a decision, with the jury charge stating that the intentional inflection of emotional distress occurs when a defendant acts recklessly, with extreme and outrageous conduct, "beyond all possible bounds of decency" that is "regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized society."

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It also defined mental anguish as "emotional pain, torment and suffering."

On Friday, jurors will be asked to issue punitive damages after hearing testimony from an economic expert speaking on behalf of the parents about the net worth of Jones and Free Speech Systems.

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