Alex Jones could be charged with perjury and up to 10 years in a Texas prison after his lawyer accidentally revealed text messages the Infowars host claimed didn’t exist, legal experts say

Alex Jones tries to answer questions about his text messages.

Alex Jones tries to answer questions about his text messages from Mark Bankston, lawyer for Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis during the August 3, 2022 trial.Briana Sanchez/AP

  • Alex Jones could be charged with perjury after his lawyer made a huge mistake, legal experts said.

  • A Jones attorney accidentally sent a digital copy of Jones’ phone to the opposing attorney.

  • Jones is now on trial for damages related to the lies he spread about the Sandy Hook shooting.

Alex Jones’ legal outlook went from bad to very bad in court on Wednesday his attorney accidentally sent the entire contents of Jones’ phone to the opposing attorneyaccidentally revealing text messages that the Infowars host had previously claimed did not exist.

Jones is on trial in Texas after the parents of a boy killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting sued the conspiracy theorist for spreading falsehoods about the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting that killed 20 children and six staff members in December 2012.

Jones has already been held liable for defamation in the case and three other lawsuits in Texas and Connecticut for his portrayal of the shooting. The civil trial is the first of three in which juries must decide: how much Jones has to pay the victims’ families.

The digital copy of Jones’ phone shared with attorneys for Sandy Hook parents contained text about the massacre that Jones previously claimed did not exist, as well as financial information about Infowars that Jones was unable to hand over during the impeachment.

The blunder of the 11th hour, which… Attorney Mark Bankston Dramatically Revealed in Court on Wednesdaywill almost certainly have an impact on jurors who begin discussing damages in the case on Thursday.

“This is a bad day in court for Jones.” Matthew Barhoma, Criminal Defense Attorney and Founder of Power Trial Lawyers and barhoma law told Insider. “It’s a poor reflection of his character and credibility, which is especially at stake when you’re in the stands.”

Prior to the start of the deliberation, the jury is given a series of instructions advising that if they believe that someone lied about something in the gallery, and that piece of information was important, they are free to ignore his or her entire testimony, Neama Rahmani , former federal prosecutor and chairman of West Coast Trial Lawyers said.

“If the judges believe that Alex Jones lied about the lyrics, they are free to reject anything he says, which is huge,” Rahmani said.

But Wednesday’s courtroom bomb could also have far-reaching consequences beyond the current lawsuits, the legal experts said.

The possibility of perjury

Legal experts told Insider that Jones was unequivocally open to possible charges of perjury as a result of his attorney’s error. If Jones lied about the existence of text messages referring to the shooting, the court would consider it perjury.

“That’s a verification that you do under oath and when it turns out later, what happened here, it turns out later that that’s not true, that there are responsive text messages, there are responsive communications that should have been produced, that seems bad faith, and that’s very useful,” Barhoma said.

Such a crime could easily lead to criminal charges against Jones, Rahmani said.

“This is potentially a very big deal,” the lawyer said. “And ultimately, if Alex Jones committed perjury, his legal troubles are just beginning.”

Jones’ attorney was not immediately available for comment.

Texas prosecutors will ultimately make the final decision on whether or not to prosecute Jones. As Travis County District Court Judge Maya Guerra Gamble — Who? admonished Jones several times during his testimony earlier this week – a referral in the case would make prosecutors even more likely to prosecute a criminal case again Jones, according to Rahmani.

“If the referral happens, it is very likely that Alex Jones will be prosecuted,” the lawyer said. And even if it isn’t, I think this is such an outrageous lie, it’s a very easy perjury case that I would expect Texas prosecutors to pick up.”

Alex Jones sits while attorney Mark Bankston asks him a question.

Mark Bankston, attorney for Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, questions Alex Jones about texting during the trial at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Wednesday, August 3, 2022.Briana Sanchez/Austin American-Statesman via AP, Pool

Crime vs Crime

The crime of perjury in Texas can be classified either as simple perjury – a felony punishable by up to one year in prison, or aggravated perjury – a felony punishable by 2-10 years behind bars.

To be considered aggravated perjury, two elements must be present, Rahmani said: the perjury must occur during an official proceeding, such as a trial, and the perjury must be material, meaning that the false statement could reasonably be the outcome of the official proceeding. can affect.

Both elements for grievous perjury, and the possible 10-year state prison sentence that accompanies it, would ostensibly be fulfilled in this case, Rahmani said.

Jones’ legal team’s mistake set the internet on fire on Wednesday, but Rahmani said it’s a blunder he’s seen happen many times due to human error. He has even been on the receiving end of such a mistake, he said.

“It happens when you send so many emails,” he said. “You communicate regularly with your counterparty. If you have a lot of text messages, it just happens.”

Rahmani added that as long as Jones’s lawyer was not previously aware of the existence of the text messages and undermined perjury by bringing Jones into question to lie about their existence, it is unlikely that he will face legal consequences.

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