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Judge orders Alex Jones’ Texas attorney to come to Connecticut to answer questions in defamation case

Andino Reynal, lawyer representing Alex Jones, listens during Jones' defamation damages trial at the Travis County Courthouse, Friday, July 29, 2022 in Austin, Texas.
Briana Sanchez / AP
Pool Austin American-Statesman
Andino Reynal, a lawyer representing Alex Jones, listens during Jones' defamation damages trial at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas, Friday, July 29, 2022.

A Texas attorney defending Alex Jones was ordered by a Connecticut judge to appear for a hearing in a defamation case related to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Andino Reynal faces possible sanctions – he had access to confidential medical records from another case that an opposing attorney says he shouldn’t have had. That became clear after Reynal apparently inadvertently sent records from Jones’ phone to lawyers for the parents of shooting victim Jesse Lewis. They sued Jones for defamation in Texas. Their attorney Mark Bankston says the records include confidential medical information for the nine named plaintiffs in the Connecticut lawsuit.

In a filing issued Thursday, Judge Barbara Bellis ordered Reynal to appear on Aug. 17 in Waterbury Superior Court “as to whether he should be referred to disciplinary authorities or sanctioned by the court directly… regarding the purported release of medical records of the plaintiffs, in violation of state and federal statute and this court's protective order, to unauthorized individuals.”

Bankston says Reynal got the files from an attorney defending Jones in Connecticut.

“Norm Pattis up in Connecticut was passing this file along to [Jones’ defense attorney in Texas, Andino] Reynal, and I know that because the directories contain … backups of Norm Pattis’ computer,” Bankston said to a Texas judge Thursday.

Neither Pattis nor Reynal responded to a request for comment.

Pattis has also been ordered to appear in Connecticut for a show cause hearing on Aug. 10.

Jones has been sued by families of victims killed in the shooting for repeatedly saying the shooting didn’t happen. A default judgment was issued against Jones in two lawsuits for not turning over records to attorneys the families. Bellis cited Jones and his defense team’s failure “to produce critical documents” when she made the ruling in November.

Bellis made her orders after a dramatic moment in a Texas court Wednesday when Bankston revealed that he had text messages from Jones that he wasn’t supposed to have. And one of them referred to Sandy Hook — the type of text Jones previously swore didn’t exist. Bankston says the records included two years of text messages from Jones’ phone, as well as confidential psychiatric records of plaintiffs in the Connecticut case.

Also in the Connecticut case, an attorney for the eight families and one first responder who sued Jones says the plaintiffs want sworn affidavits from Jones attorneys involved in the sharing of confidential records.

“Alex Jones, his agents and any of his lawyers are on notice that we will hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the criminal and civil law should they violate the privacy and dignity of these families,” said Chris Mattei, an attorney for the Connecticut plaintiffs.

Reynal, meanwhile, asked the judge on Thursday to force Bankston to destroy all records that he mistakenly shared. That decision is pending. Reynal also asked for a mistrial, which was denied.

Jury selection in the Connecticut trial got underway Aug. 2, but it was quickly interrupted when the case was removed to federal bankruptcy court. The trial will determine how much Jones should pay in damages to the plaintiffs.

A Texas jury ordered Jones pay more than $4 million in compensatory damages and more than $45 million in punitive to the parents of Jesse Lewis.

Frankie Graziano is the host of 'The Wheelhouse,' focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.
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