Sandy Hook parents’ attorney details Alex Jones trial
In an exclusive, wide-ranging interview, one of Sandy Hook’s parents’ lawyers spoke to the host of Law&Crime Network Jesse Weber to provide insight and details on his highly publicized libel victory over Infowars and Alex Jones.
Originally from Houston Mark Bankston, of Farrar and Ball, LLP, rose to national prominence earlier this month when it revealed that Jones’ legal team had inadvertently leaked some 2.3 gigabytes of cellphone data to people who reported it. had been going on for almost a decade. This revelation came in the middle of a cross-examination which prompted the prominent conspiracy theorist to mark Bankston’s surprise”Perry Mason moment.”
On Thursday, the attorney shared a personal connection to the case that he said he and his clients bonded over.
“My son, who is now eight years old, was born on the same birthday as Noah PoznerBankston said, referring to Sandy Hook’s youngest victim. “And, in fact, my son’s first birthday, the day he was born, was the first birthday that Noah wasn’t there.”
When he first took on the case, the lawyer said, it was to pursue Jones and solve what he called “an agent of chaos in society.” But as the case progressed, Bankston said, “it was more about those plaintiffs” and “those families and what they went through.”
“No one buys that lie anymore,” the lawyer told Weber in reference to the pernicious plot that the massacre was faked by the Obama administration. “We eradicated it.”
Jones, for his part, admitted during the trial that the shooting was “100% real.”
In two days in early August, years of work culminated in substantial verdicts and judgments against Jones. On the first day, jurors determined the conspiracy theorist was liable for $4.1 million; the following day, he was awarded an additional $45.2 million in punitive damages for harm caused by his claim, since retracted, that the school shooting was a “giant hoax”.
As Law&Crime previously reported, Jones’ attorney Andino Reynal announced plans to reduce the penalty under Texas law to less than $1 million, prompting a sarcastic retort from Travis County Judge Maya Guerra bet on conservative tort reform efforts that seek to limit damages from civil lawsuits.
Bankston pointed to a tense conversation between him and Reynal (the last of 10 lawyers Jones went through during the years-long litigation) in response to a question about their already well-known public feud, a relationship Weber described as “hostile” and “volatile”.
“Andino came to see me at that March hearing and outside the courthouse came up to me and taunted me,” the victims’ attorney replied. “And said ‘You’re never gonna get a dollar for those parents, you’re gonna have to do a lot of work, we’re about to make your life hell.’ And what he was referring to was that bankruptcy coup in April that delayed that trial.
Bankston went on to note that Jones’ bankruptcy scheme was clearly insufficient as a delaying tactic and that the libel suit was back on track within weeks of the bankruptcy filing.
“It was a dumb threat to make,” he said.
As for the threats, Bankston will note at one point in the interview that the Sandy Hook Victims Team, as well as Judge Gamble, received many.
“My judge and I got a little taste of what my clients have been through for the past 10 years,” he said. “There were people threatening to kill us. There were people who sent child pornography – images of child sexual abuse – to me and my judge. It’s really strange that people come out of the carpentry.
But, Bankston noted, the abuse didn’t just come from Jones fans. At one point, after winning a series of arguments, the lawyer received a middle finger salute from Andino. It was the first time, he said, that he had received such treatment from opposing counsel in his entire career.
While the professional victory was satisfying, Bankston said, the real victory and the real satisfaction came from the vindication of his clients.
“They’re doing great,” Bankston said of his clients, bereaved parents Neil Heslin and scarlet lewisincluding the 6-year-old son jesse lewis was murdered on December 14, 2012. “They feel like they are coming out of a tunnel. They have the impression of seeing the light again.
[image via screengrab/Law&Crime Network/YouTube]
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