Here’s why the January 6 investigators want to get their hands on Alex Jones’s phone: Mother Jones

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A jury in Austin, Texas on Friday ruled that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones must pay Sandy Hook’s parents $ 45.2 million in punitive damages for airing defamatory claims that the 2012 school massacre was a conspiracy of the government and that the parents were involved in the operation. This was in addition to a separate series of compensatory damages issued this week, totaling $ 4.1 million.

The long-awaited ruling came after Jones, the founder of InfoWars, was found liable last year for parental defamation and represented the first climax of three of these hearings to assess how much Jones owes his victims.

But along with the other future hearings, Jones may soon be embroiled in another high-risk legal drama after his defamation lawyers mistakenly sent a huge hoard of his personal phone data to the legal counsel … for parents. by Sandy Hook. This jaw-dropping development produced considerable court drama, as my colleague Abigail Weinberg documented Wednesday (watch to see Jones’ reaction happen in real time). He also opened a surprise door for investigators working for the January 6 commission, which is trying to piece together how the Capitol uprising was potentially coordinated between a gang of far-right operatives and extremists.

Word quickly came that the committee was preparing to issue a subpoena for the data, which apparently consists of two years of texts. Mark Bankston, an attorney representing the parents, told the Texas court that he was now in possession of “intimate messages with Roger Stone” – the Trump-aligned agent – and that he was ready to hand over the hiding place if the judge, Maya War The game paved the way. He did it just on Friday. ace mom Jones previously reported that Stone has multiple connections to a group of Oath Keepers, the far-right militia accused of helping orchestrate a plot to disrupt the 2020 presidential election. (Both Stone and Jones said they had no role whatsoever. in promoting violence.)

So what exactly would investigators be looking for? Bankston doesn’t know. “We’ve definitely seen text messages since 2019,” he said. “In terms of what’s on that phone, it’s going to take some time to figure it out.”

But here’s what they might be looking for. The committee has already asked Jones for documents. Last year, he sued the committee in an attempt to obstruct a subpoena for communications that sought to clarify how Jones knew, as early as Jan.3, of potential plans for Trump to meet with a group of demonstration attendees they were planning. to march to the Capitol after the president’s now infamous speech at the Ellipse. Jones was a great promoter of Trump’s big election lie, and on January 5, on the eve of the attack, he was publicly flaunting: “We have only begun to resist the globalists,” he told a crowd in Washington. “We have just begun our fight against their tyranny.”

In a separate video released on January 6, Jones is seen working in the crowd outside the Capitol. “Trump will speak here,” he hears himself said. “Trump is coming.”

Having been hindered thus far, the committee needs to pinch itself on being able to see any texts that could reveal any level of active coordination between Jones, Stone and other prominent far-right operative and extremists and, of course, any connection to it. White House.

But even as the commission pursues this line of investigation, it is important to remember this point made by my colleague, Washington DC office chief David Corn: there may have been collusion between the various bad actors, the alleged seditionists, and perhaps the Trump himself. But if there isn’t a smoking gun in these lyrics, or elsewhere, Trump isn’t off the hook:

There remains a possibility that the White House was in league with extremists, perhaps prompting them to wreak havoc on January 6 that would prevent the certification of the electoral vote count, which, at the time, Trump desired … Yet if these two i points – Trump and the insurgent paramilitarists – are not connected, this does not complete Trump … Conspiring with the Oath Guardians and the Proud Boys would be just another offense on a high pile. It could expand his legal responsibility. But it’s a subplot in an already fully established story: Trump attempted to subvert the constitutional order to keep power … No need for a smoking gun, or to get stuck on a particular charge or possible criminal violation. The question is no longer Trump’s fault, but how best to counter the threat he continues to pose to the republic.