A lawyer representing the parents of a child killed in the Sandy Hook massacre said he received death threats and child pornography after his libel case won conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Mark Bankston, of Houston, Texas, had a moment in the spotlight when he revealed that Jones’ attorneys accidentally sent him 2.3 gigabytes of Jones’ cellphone data to get $45.2 million for the grieving families.
And Jones’ fans were furious with Bankston’s achievements, as he explained to Law and Crime.
“I think both I and my judge got a little taste of what my clients have experienced over the past 10 years,” Bankston said.
“There were people who threatened to kill us.
“There have been people who have sent images of child abuse to both me and my judge
“It’s really weird that people have come out of the woodwork
“You know I had a father who was a criminal defense attorney for many years.
“He ran into things like that a lot, and sometimes you see it in things like drug cartel cases or mafia or something like that
“But to see it come out of something so ridiculous was definitely a new experience.”
Bankston represented Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son, 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, was among twenty children killed when gunman Adam Lanza opened fire at the Connecticut school in December 2012.
Mark Bankston, a lawyer for a family whose child was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, said he received death threats and child pornography from Alex Jones’ fan during the defamation trial
Bankston won his case against Jones’ legal team and the judge awarded the grieving families $45.2 million
Bankston represented the parents of Jesse Lewis, who was six years old when he was shot dead by gunman Adam Lanza in December 2012
Jones had previously called the mass shooting that killed 20 children a “huge hoax,” but retracted that statement at trial, saying it was “100 percent real.”
“Nobody believes that lie anymore,” Bankston said of Jones’s theory that the massacre was fake. “We clocked it out.”
Bankston told Law&Crime Network the death threats and child pornography he and the judge received were “a little taste of what my clients have experienced over the past 10 years.”
He said he’s looking forward to cross-examining Jones because he’s a person he “knew did bad things.” He said it wasn’t too difficult since all the bad things Jones did “were already out there.”
Jones has claimed his statements about the massacre are protected under the First Amendment.
He was never able to argue in court because he failed to comply with orders to produce critical evidence, a judge issued a default judgment for the plaintiffs and skipped straight to the punishment phase.
While Bankston received death threats from Jones fans, he said that wasn’t the only source of animosity as Jones’ tenth attorney Andino Reynal also struck out.
He said Reynal boasted about the legal team’s attempt to use Jones’ bankruptcy as a means to delay the process, which ultimately didn’t pay off.
“You’ll never get a dollar for these parents, you’ll have to do a lot of work, we’ll make your life hell,” Reynal is said to have said to him before the attempt.
Reynal told the jury during closing arguments that a major verdict would have a chilling effect on people trying to hold governments accountable.
“You have already sent a message. A message for the first time to a talk show host, to all talk show hosts, that their standard of care needs to change,” Reynal told jurors.
As for Jones, Reynal said he won’t be walking away any time soon. He will remain on the air as they appeal the verdict, one of the largest and most prominent decisions in a defamation case in recent years.
Alex Jones (pictured August 2) is likely to pay only a fraction of the $45 million in punitive damages awarded to the parents of a boy killed in the Sandy Hook massacre
Jones’ attorney, Federico Andino Reynal, said he will seek a reduction in the $45.2 million punitive damages award because it does not comply with Texas law
Bankston also said he has a close connection to the case as his son shares a birthday with Noah Pozner, the youngest victim in the massacre.
“My son’s first birthday, the day he was born, was the first birthday that Noah wasn’t there,” he said.
Despite the win, Jones may end up paying far less than the $45.2 million Bankston won in the lawsuit.
Bankston believes the damage will likely be limited to $4.5 million, but Jones’ attorney predicts it could be even less.
While juries have broad discretion in awarding awards, state law caps punitive damages at $750,000 other than for economic losses, as in this case.