It’s not a great time to be far-right conspiracy-monger Alex Jones, although it’s no doubt basically never a good time to be the extremist agitator.
Jones was recently ordered to pay millions upon millions of dollars in damages to two parents of a child killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which Jones characterized as some kind of staged event. (He’s since acknowledged it’s real.) The parents in that case, Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, have faced repeated threats to their safety and lives in connection to lies Jones told. During the Texas trial to determine the amount of damages Jones would pay, Heslin spoke of in-person confrontations with apparent believers of the conspiracy theories, and it’s not difficult to imagine how getting confronted by such individuals could turn dangerous and even deadly. Heslin also spoke of his residence and car getting struck by gunfire.
Now, two attorneys associated with Jones — Norm Pattis and Andino Reynal — were ordered to appear in court in Connecticut to deal with the question of the pair potentially facing disciplinary consequences for the “purported” release of medical records associated with plaintiffs in litigation against Jones in that state. Like the Texas case, the Connecticut litigation deals with lies Jones told about Sandy Hook — and in a manner also similar to the Texas case, Jones already lost the Connecticut litigation. In the state, he’s now just facing another trial on the level of damages to pay plaintiffs. Although the Connecticut case is currently under contention in bankruptcy court after Jones’s main company, Free Speech Systems, filed for bankruptcy, orders from a Connecticut judge for Pattis and Reynal to appear in court specify that since their potential discipline concerns the two of them rather than parties to the case, the court is free to proceed with (potential) disciplinary action.
Amid the Texas proceedings, Jones’s legal team mistakenly sent the other side a copy of the entirety of Jones’s cellphone, including years’ worth of his texts — and psychiatric records for plaintiffs in the Connecticut litigation. It appears as though Jones would’ve been able to access those records in the process of the Connecticut plaintiffs arguing for their claims of emotional distress connected to lies Jones told, but he wasn’t free to simply spread those records to the farthest reaches of the earth without consequence. The plaintiffs’ side in the Texas case indicated it already erased medical records it obtained in the trove of data from Jones’s phone. The orders to Pattis and Reynal specify that violations of federal law may have been committed.
In separate Connecticut orders, the Jones attorneys were “ordered to show cause and appear, in person, at a hearing… as to whether [they] should be referred to disciplinary authorities or sanctioned by the court directly, see Connecticut Practice Book Section 2-45, regarding the purported release of medical records of the plaintiffs, in violation of state and federal statute and this court’s protective order, to unauthorized individuals.” The orders didn’t specify whether the purportedly released medical information of concern to the court was, in fact, what was in the copy of Jones’s phone sent over in the Texas case, but contextually, it seems likely that’s the specific issue the court is referencing. Pattis’s Connecticut court hearing is August 10, and Reynal’s is August 17.