Alex Jones lawyer could face legal consequences for phone records release — experts

(In Aug 6 story, corrects charge against Carmen Maria Montiel to interference with a flight crew attendant, paragraph 12)

By Jacqueline Thomsen

(Reuters) – The lawyer defending conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in a Texas trial drew his own national headlines this week for accidentally handling highly-sensitive data to his adversaries, opening him up to potential legal consequences.

Houston lawyer Federico Andino Reynal acknowledged that Jones’ legal team had provided lawyers for parents of a child killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting with a digital copy of the Infowars founder’s phone contents, which included text messages and medical records.

The disclosure was made public by a lawyer for the parents in a dramatic exchange with Jones as the trial neared its close. {nL1N2ZG1XS]

The revelation may have exposed Reynal to sanctions in a different case, as well as the potential for malpractice claims by Jones, according to court documents and lawyers following the trial. Jones could pursue a malpractice claim against his attorneys, but would have to prove that he would have had a better result from the Texas trial if the phone information hadn’t been handed over, said Randy Johnston, a legal malpractice lawyer in Dallas.

“Any complaint he would make is, essentially, ‘but for my lawyers, I would have been a successful wild,'” Johnston said.

Reynal told Reuters on Friday that his focus “was always on the jury and on putting the best case forward for Alex.” He said sanctions sought against him may be for a “tactical advantage” by his opponents.

Jones couldn’t immediately be reached for comments. An Austin jury on Friday awarded the parents $45.2 million in punitive damages against Jones for falsely calling the 2012 massacre a hoax, on top of a $4.1 million compensatory damages verdict the day before.

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Legal fight eruptions over Alex Jones texts after Jan. 6 committee seeks copy

Alex Jones’ lawyer asked for an emergency court order blocking the release of the InfoWars host’s text messages and other cellphone dataarguing that the material had been inadvertently provided to — and improperly downloaded by — lawyers for the parents of Sandy Hook shooting victim Jesse Lewis.

Mark Bankston, a lawyer for the Sandy Hook parents, revealed the cache of information while Jones was on the stand Wednesday, saying “your attorneys messed up and sent me the entire digital copy, with every text message you sent in the past two years.”

Bankston used the information to seize Jones’ claim that he had searched for every text containing the words “Sandy Hook” without success.

That exchange — derided by Jones as Bankston’s “Perry Mason moment” — expanded Thursday morning into a larger legal fight over Bankston’s stated plans to send the information, as requested, to the US House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

More:Alex Jones agrees Sandy Hook portrayal was ‘absolutely irresponsible’ as trial nears end

With jurors out of the courtroom, Reynal asked state District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble to order Bankston to keep the data confidential and destroy any copies made, saying it also included confidential attorney-client communications and medical records that Bankston did not have a right to view .

Texas rules give lawyers 10 days to claim that privileged material was inadvertently provided, triggering a duty to return the information, Reynal said. Almost two weeks ago, after Bankston informed him that links to numerous files might have been sent in error, Reynal said he quickly responded by saying, “Please disregard the link.”

“This never should’ve gotten this far,” Reynal told the judge. “When I told him to please disregard the link, that should’ve

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Gun-makers face new legal threat from families of mass shooting victims | Nation

Families of children and teachers killed in last month’s Texas school massacre face a formidable legal battle if they decide to sue the gun-maker whose AR-15 semi-automatic rifle was used in the attack.

That doesn’t mean they can’t win.

Their main challenge would be overcoming the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a 2005 federal law designed to defend gun-makers from civil claims when their products are used to kill people. Until a few years ago, PLCAA was widely assumed to shield the industry from suits over mass shootings and other acts of violence.

In recent years, rulings in Connecticut, Indiana and Pennsylvania have shifted that assumption, and Texas could be next.

“There is now significant case law from around the country that PLCAA does not give gun companies sweeping immunity from lawsuits, and that gun manufacturers and dealers can be liable in numerous cases,” Jonathan Lowy, chief counsel at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence , said in an interview.

The families of victims of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas — some of whom have asked for information from the gun-maker, signaling litigation ahead — “potentially have a very strong claim,” Lowy said.

The political debate since the May 24 mass shooting in Uvalde and another one 10 days earlier at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, has focused on modest bipartisan gun control measures in Congress, which culminated in a bill President Joe Biden signed into law on Saturday . But that advance for gun control advocates was overshadowed by a June 23 landmark Supreme Court ruling that may lead to more firearms on the streets of

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