A lawyer representing parents of a child killed in the Sandy Hook massacre says he received death threats and child pornography following his defamation case victory over conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Mark Bankston of Houston, Texas had a moment in the limelight when he shared that Jones’ lawyers had accidentally sent him 2.3 gigabytes of Jones’ cellphone data on his way to getting $45.2 million for the grieving families.
And Jones’ fans were furious at Bankston’s successes, as he explained to Law and Crime.
‘I think both I and my judge got a small taste of what my clients have experienced for the past 10 years,’ Bankston said.
‘There were people threatening to kill us.
‘There were people who have sent child pornography child sexual abuse images to both me and my judge
‘It is it is really strange that people have come out of the woodwork
‘You know I had a father who did criminal work for many years and as a criminal defense lawyer.
‘He would often run into this sort of thing and you would see it sometimes on things like you know drug cartel cases or mafia or something like that
‘But to see it come out of something this ridiculous, it 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 in the Connecticut school in December 2012.
Mark Bankston, a lawyer for a family whose child was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, says he was sent death threats and child pornography by Alex Jones’ fan during the defamation trial
Bankston won his case versus Jones’ legal team and the judge awarded $45.2 million for the grieving families
Bankston represented the parents of Jesse Lewis, pictured, who was six when he was shot dead by gunman Adam Lanza in December 2012
Jones had previously called the mass shooting that took 20 children’s lives a ‘giant hoax,’ but retracted that statement during trial, saying it was ‘100 percent real.’
‘Nobody buys into this lie anymore,’ said Bankston of Jones’ theory the massacre was faked. ‘We’ve stamped it out.’
Bankston told Law&Crime Network the death threats and child pornography he and the judge received were ‘small taste of what my clients have experienced for the past 10 years.’
He said he looked forward to cross-examining Jones because he’s a person he ‘knew had done bad things,’ he said it wasn’t too challenging as all the bad things Jones has done ‘were already out there.’
Jones has claimed his statements about the massacre were protected by the First Amendment.
He was never able to make the argument in court, because he failed to comply with orders to hand over critical evidence, a judge entered a default judgment for the plaintiffs and skipped right to the punishment phase.
While Bankston received death threats from fans of Jones, he said that wasn’t the only source of hostility as Jones’ tenth lawyer Andino Reynal also lashed out.
He said Reynal boasted of the legal team’s attempt to use Jones’ bankruptcy as a means to delay the trial, which did not end up paying off.
‘You’re never going to get a dollar for these parents, you’re gonna have to do a bunch of work, we’re about to make your life hell,’ Reynal reportedly said to him before the attempt.
Reynal told the jury during closing arguments that a large judgment would have a chilling effect on people seeking to hold governments accountable.
‘You’ve 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 has to change,’ Reynal told jurors.
As for Jones, Reynal said he isn’t going away any time soon. He’ll remain on the air while they appeal the verdict, one of the largest and highest-profile decisions in a defamation case in recent years.
Alex Jones (pictured August 2) will likely pay only a fraction of the $45 million in punitive damages awarded to the parents of a young boy killed in the Sandy Hook massacre
Jones’ lawyer Federico Andino Reynal said that he will seek to reduce the $45.2 million punitive damages award because it does not comply with Texas law
Bankston also said he shares an intimate connection with the case, as his son shares a birthday with Noah Pozner, the youngest victim of the massacre.
‘My son’s first birthday, the day he was born, was the first birthday that Noah wasn’t around,’ he said.
Despite the victory, Jones may end up paying far less than the $45.2 million Bankston won in the trial.
Bankston believes the damages will likely be capped at $4.5 million, however Jones’ lawyer predicts it could be even less.
While juries have broad discretion on awards, states law caps punitive damages at $750,000 when economic losses are not involved, as in this case.