Conspiracy theorist and host of Infowars Alex Jones had the entire contents of his phone leaked to prosecutors during his ongoing legal battle with the parents of Sandy Hook victims.
The 48-year-old has been embroiled in a defamation trial with some of the parents of the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, in which 26 people were killed by a gunman - 20 of whom were children.
In the aftermath, Jones cast doubt on the legitimacy of the shooting, even suggesting that some of the parents of the victims shown on TV were 'paid actors'.
This false assertion directly led to many of the parents of the deceased being harassed - and even threatened - by some of the right-wing conspiracy theorist's most ardent and loyal supporters.
Jones has since walked back some of his comments on Sandy Hook, most notably so on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, but that hasn't prevented some of the families from pursuing legal action against him.
The defamation trail took a surprise turn on Wednesday (3 August) when Jones' entire phone records were accidentally tuned over to one of the prosecution lawyers representing the parents suing Jones.
"Your attorneys messed up and sent me an entire digital copy of your entire cellphone with every text message you sent for the past two years," lawyer Mark Bankston told Jones while he was on the witness stand.
"That is how I know you lied to me when you said you didn't have text messages about Sandy Hook."
Bankston is representing Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, a couple whose son was murdered during the school shooting and who have sued Jones for his lies about the massacre.
The phone reportedly contains 'intimate' messages between Jones and Roger Stone, an aide for Donald Trump who was part of the efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election.
On Thursday evening (4 August), Bankston said he had received a request from 'several law enforcement agencies'. including the January 6 Committee investigating the Capitol riots, to turn over key phone data, and that he intended to do so 'immediately'.
The judge in the defamation trial said the contents of the phone could be subpoenaed by the House Select Committee.
She said: "They know about them. They know they exist. They know you have them. I think they're going there either way."
The former radio host, who has now been banned from almost every mainstream social media platform, testified virtually before the Jan 6 Committee earlier this year, although he generally invoked his fifth amendment right to remain silent during the grilling.
As for the defamation lawsuit, Jones was ordered to pay the families $4.1m (£3.3m) in damages on Thursday, as the trial drew to a close in his native state of Texas.
This is just the latest case Jones has lost against the Sandy Hook families, although it is the first in which the jury have agreed upon the financial damages he should incur.
Bankston told reporters outside court on Thursday that his clients were not disappointed with the sum awarded by the jury.
"We aren't done folks," the attorney said.
"We knew coming into this case it was necessary to shoot for the moon to get the jury to understand we were serious and passionate. After tomorrow, he's going to owe a lot more."
Once regarded as the most influential conspiracy theorist in America, Jones' influence has been on the wane ever since his talkshow was indefinitely purged from YouTube in 2018.
Just last week, the show's parent company, Free Speech Systems LLC, was declared bankrupt, with Infowars itself now only streamable on its own independently ran website.
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