The House committee investigating the Capitol riot is reportedly planning to subpoena a substantial cache of texts and related communications associated with far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones after the existence and availability of those materials was revealed in a Texas court Wednesday.
The proceedings were part of a Texas trial concerning the question of the level of financial penalties to impose on Jones in connection to the impact on particular parents from lies he told about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Jones’s legal team accidentally sent Mark Bankston, who’s representing the parents in that Texas case, a copy of key contents of Jones’s phone stretching across some three years, according to Rolling Stone’s reporting. (Bankston said in court the digital copy of Jones’s cellphone that he received extended for two years.) The accidental transmission of Jones’s comms was revealed almost two weeks after it happened and after Jones’s attorneys failed to take any steps to get the critical materials classified as privileged, Bankston explained. Per Rolling Stone, the riot panel “is preparing to request that data from the plaintiff attorneys in order to aid its investigation of the insurrection.”
According to further reporting from the publication, it was “within minutes” of the messages getting revealed that internal deliberations within the panel about the prospect of obtaining the communications started. Although he would not be the direct target for this subpoena since somebody else holds the texts now, the riot panel already subpoenaed Jones once, and their investigation is itself continuing with rigor.
Jones holds close connections to Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the far-right group called the Oath Keepers, who’s among those affiliated with that org charged with seditious conspiracy in connection to the riot. Among other examples, Rhodes is a repeat guest on Jones’s conspiratorial programming. Previous outreach from the riot committee to Jones indicated that he was evidently told by someone at the Trump White House he was “to lead a march to the Capitol,” where Trump himself would make an appearance. In the Texas proceedings, Jones is facing allegations of lying about searches he made for communications related to Sandy Hook. “You know what perjury is, right?” Bankston pointedly asked Jones during this Wednesday’s proceedings. Although he often comes across that way, Jones appeared visibly agitated. He’d evidently previously claimed he had no Sandy Hook-related texts.
The two parents involved in the case are seeking $150 million in financial damages. Recently, Jones’s main company, which is called Free Speech Systems, filed for bankruptcy, and legal machinations related to that development forced a halt to jury selection in a second court case targeting Jones dealing with similar matters. Jones has displayed little that could reasonably be called remorse. As the Texas case proceeds, his side’s hoping for the presumable minimum in financial damages: $1.
The parents on the other side in the Texas case, Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose young son Jesse was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, outlined during testimony how their lives were substantially impacted by lies from Jones about the shooting, which he characterized as staged. Heslin said his car and residence were struck by gunfire, and he also spoke of repeated, in-person confrontations with individuals evidently convinced of Jones’s delusions. It’s not difficult to imagine how such a confrontation could quickly become dangerous and even deadly — if someone believes Sandy Hook was staged and the parents behind this Texas case are acting, they clearly struggle with reality.
Featured image: Jared Holt, available under a Creative Commons license