AUSTIN, Texas – Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ legal team inadvertently sent opposing lawyers two years worth of his text messages, according to statements made in court Wednesday.
The development happened before a jury began deliberating how much money Jones should pay for defaming the family of a boy killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Jones told the court Wednesday he now understands it was irresponsible to call the attack a hoax.
Jones testified Wednesday he believes the massacre was “100% real.” The admission from the Infowars host was one of many remarkable developments in court Wednesday.
Jones attempted to sway a jury that will determine how much he and his media company, Free Speech Systems, owe for defaming the family of a 6-year-old boy who was killed in the 2012 attack, which left 20 students and six educators dead in Newtown, Connecticut.
Jones has been accused of perjuring himself under oath several times this week, including once by the judge, and was confronted in open court Wednesday by a lawyer for Jesse Lewis’ family with an extensive copy of his cell phone records — evidence that was apparently accidentally sent to them by Jones’ attorneys.
The stunning moment appeared to even take Jones by surprise when he was shown copies of his own text messages by Mark Bankston, a lawyer for the boy’s parents, Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin.
“Your attorneys messed up and sent me an entire digital copy of your entire cell phone, with everything text message you’ve sent for the past two years,” Bankston says in court Wednesday in a moment that has now gone viral on social media.
“That is how I know you lied to me when you said you did not have text messages about Sandy Hook,” he continued. Jones pushed back, saying he was being truthful and the accusation from Bankston was a “Perry Mason moment,” alluding to a fictional defense attorney character.
While Jones chalked it up to proof that he had complied with a court order to turn over information, Bankston said the evidence shows that Jones was untruthful about his text messages during the discovery period of the trial and potentially committed perjury.
“My lawyers sent it to you but I’m hiding, okay,” Jones said, before the judge warned both Jones and Bankston to simply answer and ask questions.
The revelations Wednesday came one day after Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin testified about the suffering, death threats and harassment they’ve endured after the death of their son because of what Jones has trumpeted on his media platforms.
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In a gripping exchange, Lewis spoke directly to Jones, who was sitting about 10 feet away.
At one point, Lewis asked Jones: “Do you think I’m an actor?”
“No, I don’t think you’re an actor,” Jones responded before the judge admonished him to be quiet until called to testify.
Heslin told the jury about holding his son with a bullet hole through his head, even describing the extent of the damage to his son’s body. A key segment of the case is a 2017 Infowars broadcast that said Heslin didn’t hold his son.
Heslin and Lewis said Tuesday that an apology wouldn’t suffice and that Jones needed to be held accountable for repeatedly spreading falsehoods about the attack, which was the deadliest school shooting in American history. They are seeking at least $150 million from the trial, which is in its second week.
During closing arguments, Jones’ attorney Andino Reynal said the plaintiffs didn’t prove that Jones’ actions and words caused actual harm, and that the trial lacked evidence of the harassment, anguish and character defamation that the parents claimed. He asked the jurors to award the parents $8 — one dollar for each of the compensation charges they are considering.
“Alex Jones may not be to our particular taste, but millions of Americans tune in to be informed, to be entertained, to have their voices heard,” Reynal said. “Speak the truth in your verdict. For them. And for all Americans.”