On Thursday, Texas Judge Maya Guerra Gamble denied a request from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s side for the declaration of a mistrial amid an ongoing case dealing with how much Jones must pay two Sandy Hook parents for lies about the shooting.
The jury was deliberating over the matter at the time the court dealt with the mistrial push. Jones’s attorney Andino Reynal pushed for scrapping the trial after Mark Bankston, who’s representing the Sandy Hook parents involved in this case, revealed in court that Jones’s legal team accidentally sent him a copy of the entirety of Jones’s phone, including texts revealing the conspiracy theorist apparently lied about not having messages about Sandy Hook. Bankston only revealed these developments in court after, as he explained it, Reynal failed to take substantive action to protect the revealed contents of Jones’s phone as privileged — but now, Reynal seems desperate. Reynal also pushed for an emergency court order that would seemingly shield contents from Jones’s device. “We are very concerned about the records that have been disclosed, particularly the medical records,” the Jones attorney said.
Besides denying the request for the declaration of a mistrial, Gamble also expressed incredulity the request was made at all. Noting it’s “like the 17th time” Jones’s side asked for a mistrial, the judge remarked: “I don’t even know if you meant it,” according to journalist Jamal Andress. Meanwhile, Gamble ordered the destruction of any medical records included in the digital materials from Jones’s phone obtained by the plaintiffs’ side, a step the plaintiffs’ side indicated they’d already undertaken. Gamble also outlined that — no matter apparent failures on Jones’s side to undertake similar steps — the conspiracy theorist’s team would be allowed to launch what would seemingly amount to objections to the possession by plaintiffs of particular items from the phone, but she wouldn’t issue an all-encompassing block on the device’s contents. Gamble also indicated she wouldn’t put the trial on hold while that process transpires.
Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents involved in the ongoing Texas case against Jones, were seeking $150 million in damages. Amid claimed financial troubles for the conspiracy theorist, Jones’s side was pursuing what would presumably be the minimum in damages: $1. The parents seeking restitution from Jones have faced threats to their safety and lives in connection to lies Jones told about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, where a child of Heslin and Lewis’s was murdered. Jones characterized the massacre as staged — a startlingly delusional belief that, no matter its nonsensical nature, is connected to repeated, in-person confrontations that Heslin spoke of during trial involving those apparently trying to confront the parents, who according to the galling conspiracy theory’s framework are just actors. Shots were fired at Heslin’s car and residence, he explained during trial.
Both the House committee investigating the Capitol riot and law enforcement personnel are apparently interested in obtaining Jones’s texts. Bankston revealed law enforcement interest during court proceedings early Thursday, and in the event there’s no imminent court intervention stopping him, Bankston indicated he’d be complying. Separately, Free Speech Systems — Jones’s main company — recently filed for bankruptcy, although the credibility of that bankruptcy could be questionable. The bankruptcy case led to a temporary halt in the jury selection process for a Connecticut trial dealing with the level of damages Jones would need to pay to other Sandy Hook families.
Featured image: Jared Holt, available under a Creative Commons license