It’s more tricky than usual to defend a client who has provided you with proof that he’s guilty.
Not at all. Mistrials in civil cases are nigh impossible. Plus the disclosure prevents the defense lawyers from being hit with ethics charges coming from withholding demanded information. Attorney client privilege doesn’t extend to deliberately hiding information from adversaries or suborning perjury.
Plus this is a trial on damages, liability is already determined. The plaintiffs can just re file if the court doesn’t correct the issue. They’re p1ssed and motivated.
He’s already been proven liable. This trial was to determine how much he has to pay.
Even better than just 2 years of info on the guy…
“you mean you have ALL of the texts. Like even ones with the senator?” He smiled and said “yup…
fuck-up gift that keeps on giving!:
This tranche is the last several years of his communications, so I’m guessing there have been several document dumps before this. Jones just can’t help but keep fucking up, so his latest communications continue to be relevant, I guess.
There’s going to be days of this, now with phone data.
Not sure about his personal income, but the turnover at Infowars was around $45M /yr prior to de-platforming (not sure what happened after that, no data and too lazy to look). So yep, just shy of a million a week in turnover.
This was covered beautifully by John Oliver - I got to mention it here:
Oh sweet sweet Schadenfreude…
Well, that’s what I’m saying. That only works if his lawyers got this info after discovery. If they had access to his phone during discovery (and it’s ridiculous to believe that they weren’t aware he had a cell phone at this time, so they should have gotten access) then they violated discovery orders.
ETA: Regardless of any of that, this seems like pretty straightforward malpractice.
I also read the plaintiff’s lawyer found medical records obtained through discovery on Jones’ phone. Bankston said that was in violation of a protective order. Probably one that said Jones’ lawyers could see them but Jones’ could not or that they could not be transferred or scanned.
I expect to hear about multiple complaints to the Texas bar and sanctions on the licenses of Jones’ lawyers.
Can someone with legal knowledge explain this to a layperson like me? Don’t the lawyers have to give each other all relevant evidence? How can it be a “mistake” when they’re not allowed to conceal incriminating information in the first place? I’m not at all knowledgeable about this stuff so feel free to speak to me like I’m five years old about it.
I’ll try but a lot of this is just bizarre so there is really no good explanation of a lot of it.
There were certainly numerous orders made regarding discovery, i.e. the handing over of evidence.
But Jones and his merry band of fuckups had and have a very odd way of dealing with those orders.
They sometimes handed over wads of stuff and sometimes nothing.
Sometimes they handed over things that nobody (including them apparently) knew they had, sometimes they didn’t hand over documents that everybody knew they must have.
Frequently (if not all the time) they handed over stuff without knowing what was in the documents they handed over.
If you have the time, the Knowledge Fight deposition episodes are hilarious and illuminating.
There are so many occasions where someone from Infowars says something like “I don’t understand what you’re showing me? What is this document?” only to hear the response “You tell me. It was in your discovery to us. That’s why I’m asking you what it is and why you thought it was relevant?”
The “mistake” here would be disclosing the entire digital copy of the phone including matters which aren’t relevant to the proceedings, matters which the judge had ruled were matters which the plaintiff’s weren’t entitled to (like Alex’s medical details) and potentially matters which are subject to legal privilege or privileged for other reasons like for example it might incriminate him in a criminal conspiracy to overthrow the US government.
The further mistake is then not asserting privilege when the plaintiffs’ attorney notified them that they had made the first mistake.
They had a window in which to say that they’d made a mistake and they didn’t do that. So the plaintiffs get to use it all free and clear.
That’s my understanding at least. I’m sure one of our US lawyer mutants can expand/correct that.
There’s a very good reason Alex and his ilk are called con artists. A skilled con artist he is.
modern American political culture is emotive and even artistic. It uses language like a musician uses notes or an impressionist uses brush strokes. Whether it’s Marjorie Taylor Greene talking about Bill Gates’ efforts to colonize our bowels through “peach tree dishes” or Alex Jones ranting about gay frogs, modern politicians and pundits use language to convey feelings and attitudes and values, not specific meanings. If you demand Alex Jones defend the specific meaning of his words, it’s like demanding your eight-year-old defend his statement that his birthday party was the best day ever when previously that’s what he said about Disneyland. Trump was the Salvador Dali of this movement, his speeches full of melting clocks of ire and resentment. As an artist of lies he was prolific.
@lOki provided an excellent summary (IAAL but not a trial lawyer) but I’d like to add a few things
Discovery is usually limited to what is relevant to the claims in the lawsuit. What counts as “relevant” is negotiated between the lawyers, with the judge stepping in if needed. Generally, a discovery request is made with a list of the information that the party wants. The opposing attorney then reviews the list and either gives the information requested or resists discovery and gives reasons why the information is not relevant or subject to some kind of privilege and doesn’t need to be released.
What appears to have happened here is Bankston, the plaintiff’s attorney made a discovery request during the trial. Jones’ lawyers came back said “oh no! We don’t have those emails you’re looking for or those text messages.” At some point, either because of that first discovery request or because of a new one the plaintiff’s attorney made during the penalties assessment phase ( which is the trial we see here), Jones’ attorneys handed over an image of his entire phone or at least all of his text messages and all of his emails. Some of those emails would have been responsive to that discovery request but a lot of them wouldn’t be. That’s the part that is inadvertent release, the emails and text messages that aren’t relevant to the trial. When someone releases too much information it’s on the lawyer receiving the information to step up and say “hey. You accidentally gave me this stuff” which gives the lawyer who accidentally released it a chance to claw it back. A claw back means the attorney that received the information has to give it back or destroy it. Alternatively, the attorney who gave the information can claim some of it is privileged and then the attorney who received it has to destroy it or challenge that claim of privilege in court.
Tldr: Jones’s lawyers were supposed to only give some emails and some text messages. They messed up. They gave everything to the plaintiff’s attorney. The plaintiff’s attorney then did what he was supposed to do and gave them a chance to claw it back or claim privilege and Jones’s attorneys didn’t. Now the plaintiff’s attorney gets to use anything in that information whether it’s actually relevant or not and it is too late to try and claim that the information is privileged or try to get it back.
Edits and to say: the plaintiff’s attorney also now gets to give that info to pretty much any one unless it is protected under some law or ethical obligation (he shouldn’t hand out any medical records, for example). I don’t even think he needs a subpoena, though that is a sensible cover to prevent a lawsuit. Any one suing him for release probably wouldn’t succeed, but defending does cost time and money.
Don’t the lawyers have to give each other all relevant evidence?
Yes, they do, if it’s not privileged information (e.g. attorney-client communications) and if it’s relevant to the case. If Jones’s attorneys had his cell phone and didn’t provide relevant / non-privileged information during discovery (the part before a trial where you turn over your evidence), they can get in trouble (“sanctioned”) for it.
I’m not a lawyer, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they can get in trouble even if Jones didn’t turn over his phone, because they should have known it might have relevant information that they were required to produce during discovery.
How can it be a “mistake” when they’re not allowed to conceal incriminating information in the first place?
It’s potentially a mistake on multiple fronts:
If there’s any evidence that they had this information during discovery, not disclosing it until now is a mistake because they just proved that they withheld information during discovery. So they fucked themselves over.
Regardless of #1, when plaintiff’s attorneys contacted Jones’s attorneys and said, “Hey, you gave us a whole bunch of new documents that we think you may not have meant to, is there anything here you want to claw back?” they started a ten day clock. If Jones’s attorneys had said during that window, “Hey, yeah, the following stuff is privileged” then plaintiff’s attorneys can’t keep it or use it, only the other stuff that isn’t protected.
Since Jones’s attorneys didn’t respond in time, they essentially said, “Nope, none of it’s protected, you can have it”. And that’s a big fucking deal because presumably there’s a ton of stuff in there that’s not relevant, as well as a bunch of stuff that’s privileged (supposedly his medical records, and presumably there was at least some communication with his attorneys in his email). And since plaintiff’s attorneys (supposedly) did everything right, now they get to keep it all, which means they get to use it. It also means that, since Jones’s lawyers allowed them to keep it, other parties (like Jones’s ex wife and the Jan 6th committee) can subpoena the information from plaintiff’s attorneys.
And all of that means that the fucked Jones over in a way that he can go after them for.
I mean, this is pretty serious malpractice, so yeah, probably a mistake.