Defense in Sandy Hook defamation case worried about Alex Jones being tied to white supremacy
Attorneys representing Alex Jones don’t want talk of white supremacy or right-wing extremism in the upcoming trial for a defamation lawsuit filed against him on behalf of relatives of Sandy Hook victims.
Potential testimony on those topics could hurt the case, said Norm Pattis, an attorney defending Jones. He’s also worried about any connection made between Jones and the United States House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 attack.
Jones came up in a committee hearing earlier this week when a former campaign manager for then-president Donald Trump said she was concerned that Jones’ participation in a Jan. 6 rally could provoke attendees.
Pattis told judge Barbara Bellis in virtual court Thursday that Jones’ “big role” in the hearings would “undermine [Jones’] ability to get a fair trial.” So he asked the court to keep Connecticut Public and a London-based film production company called Amos Pictures from recording Thursday’s hearing.
Pattis was overruled.
The defense recently filed a motion to preclude the introduction of evidence of white supremacy and/or right-wing extremism during the trial. The defense said it found out through disclosure about at least two witnesses who could be called upon by the plaintiffs to discuss white supremacy and right-wing extremism.
“Such evidence is not relevant to the issues that will be before the jury and would also be unfairly prejudicial and inflammatory to the defendants,” read the motion filed Wednesday by the defense.
Jones has already lost the lawsuit and was found liable for defamation last November after he and attorneys representing him failed to produce financial documents related to Jones’ companies. A jury will decide in September how much Jones will pay in damages to families of the victims.
Twenty children and six educators were killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.
Jones once said that everything about the shooting was “fake.”
The defense is also trying to delay the trial, set to begin Sept. 6. Pattis said that two lawsuits involving Jones are going to trial shortly in Texas, and they’d like the case in Connecticut to be continued.
Chris Mattei, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said he’ll formally object to that soon. He’s also against an attempt by Pattis to bring on another attorney to the Jones defense team, citing a “rotating cast of defense counsel” over the duration of proceedings in the case.
Pattis previously tried to withdraw himself and attorneys from his firm from defending Jones, citing a “strained” relationship with Jones. That effort never came to fruition, and now he’s trying to bring on Andino Reynal, an attorney from Texas, who Pattis said is closer to Jones.
“I do have a client who would like Mr. Reynal in this case for as much as we can get," Pattis said. "I’ve been involved in this case roughly three and a half years. Of all the lawyers that I've worked with in this case, he is the one that I trust most and I need him."
Bellis didn’t rule on that request during the hearing, but she did bring up a concern about Reynal’s ability to show up in Connecticut for trial proceeding, because he’d be working on Jones’ defense in Texas.
Jury selection in the Connecticut lawsuit is scheduled to begin Aug. 2.