WATERBURY, Conn. — An attorney for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones invoked his right against self-incrimination Thursday during a civil court hearing in Connecticut over the possible inappropriate disclosure of confidential medical records of relatives of some Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims.
New Haven attorney Norman Pattis declined to answer questions citing his Fifth Amendment rights during a hearing on whether he should be punished for giving the confidential records to unauthorized persons – other Jones attorneys in Texas. He denied any wrongdoing. A judge did not decide Thursday whether disciplinary action was warranted.
The hearing was related to a Connecticut lawsuit brought by the Sandy Hook families against Jones for calling the 2012 shooting that killed 20 children and six educators in Newtown a hoax. State Judge Barabara Bellis in Waterbury found Jones liable for damages in November 2021 and a jury trial on how much he should pay is set to begin next month.
Bellis, who oversaw Thursday’s hearing, said it was “unusual” for a lawyer to invoke the Fifth Amendment during a disciplinary hearing.
One of Jones’ Texas-based attorneys, Andino Reynal, also testified before Bellis on Thursday as he also faces possible discipline over disclosing the records. Reynal said he was surprised and embarrassed when he learned of the disclosure.
“It was the worst day of my legal career,” he said.
Reynal represented Jones at trial in Austin, Texas — where Jones and his web show Infowars are based — in a similar lawsuit over his claims that the school shooting was a hoax. That trial ended earlier this month when a jury awarded the parents of one of the children killed in the massacre nearly $50 million in damages. Reynal said Jones will appeal the verdicts.
According to court documents and testimony, Pattis sent a large number of filings from the Connecticut libel case over the past month to a third Jones attorney who represented Jones’ companies in a bankruptcy case. This attorney then sent the records to Reynal, who in turn gave the records to the attorney who represented Sandy Hook’s parents at the trial in Texas.
The documents were given to Pattis by attorneys representing the Sandy Hook families in the Connecticut case as part of the discovery. It was not specified what the documents included. But attorneys associated with the case said there were files with titles suggesting they included confidential medical records of the Sandy Hook plaintiffs.
The recordings also apparently included texts from Jones’ cellphone. In a surprise move at the Texas trial, Sandy Hook’s parents’ attorney, Mark Bankston, revealed that Reynal mistakenly sent him the records, including Jones’ texts. Reynal said Thursday he did not look at the records before sending them to Bankston.
Bankston reportedly sent Jones’ phone records to the United States House committee examining the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot that sought to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. The panel chairman accused Jones of helping organize a rally near the Capitol that preceded the uprising.