Alex Jones Hires Larger Than Life Lawyer to Lead his Sandy Hook Defense
By Jonathan Tilove, Austin American-Statesman
Mar 7, 2019 Updated Mar 8, 2019
AUSTIN, Texas_In the thick of South by Southwest, Alex Jones is scheduled to be deposed for four hours next Thursday at a downtown law office by attorneys for a Sandy Hook parent suing him for intentional infliction of emotional distress for years of characterizing the 2012 Connecticut school shooting as a hoax.
But Jones' attorneys will be in Travis County District Court seeking to delay the deposition so that Jones' new lead counsel, Robert Barnes, a larger-than-life Los Angeles lawyer who has embraced Jones' view that the lawsuits brought against him by Sandy Hook parents are part of a conspiracy to cripple the First Amendment, silence Jones and undermine President Donald Trump, can be there.
"They don't just want to stop an Alex Jones from being on the air or a Donald Trump running for president, they want to terrorize the public into thinking, 'Jeez, I better never vote for another Donald Trump again, I better never listen to another Alex Jones again. In fact, I probably shouldn't even have the right to do so,'" Barnes said in a Feb. 23 appearance with Jones on InfoWars, the Austin-based broadcast and internet platform, on which Jones introduced Barnes as chief legal counsel for InfoWars.
Jones told The Austin American-Statesman Thursday that he was long familiar with Barnes, who successfully represented Ralph Nader in a ballot access case that went to the Supreme Court and Wesley Snipes in a famous tax denier case, and his success in big cases, and called him after seeing his recent representation of Covington, Ky., Catholic High School students and their families who felt they had been libeled by misleading coverage and commentary of a confrontation they were involved in on the National Mall earlier this year that went viral.
"They are using me as a Trojan horse, they are using me as vehicle to try to trick the left into giving up their journalistic privilege and protection," Jones said of the suits against him, which he said, if they prevail, will diminish press freedom in America.
"They are tricking the leftist liberal press into getting aboard the bandwagon to silence me and other right wingers and all they are doing is silencing themselves," he said.
"They are throwing the baby out with the bathwater," said Jones, who said this is an issue on which he and Trump, who wants to strengthen libel laws, are on opposite sides.
Jones is facing separate Sandy Hook suits in Texas and Connecticut and Barnes, in his InfoWars appearance with Jones, said they are all part of a coordinated effort to banish Jones, who has been de-platformed from major social media outlets, from the public square.
"What has really happened is that ever since the election of Donald Trump, the goal has been to shut up and silence, to use a campaign of censorship and shaming to isolate and make sure that people like you are not heard. So it's not just about your voice, it's the audiences right to listen to your voice. They don't want the audience to have access to your voice," Barnes said.
"I believe subsequent litigation will show this was a clear plan, orchestrated plan by people like Media Matters, people like David Brock, people like the Clinton family, people like George Soros and other individuals who believe that speech should not be allowed, that the audience should not able to pick what they get to hear, that they should be the gatekeepers, that they should be the censors," Barnes said.
On Jan. 25, District Judge Scott Jenkins ordered Jones to submit to questioning and required his lawyers to provide a variety of documents and other material sought by Mark Bankston, the Houston attorney representing Sandy Hook parent Scarlett Lewis, to prepare for a May 2 hearing on a motion by Jones' lawyer Mark Enoch of Dallas motion to dismiss her suit. Jones' attorney has not provided those documents by the deadline, arguing that many are covered by journalistic privilege and should not be made public if they are turned over to the plaintiff, an argument that Jenkins was going to hear this afternoon. Enoch has suggested in a court filing that Jones could be deposed the second week in April, which he said would still give Bankston time to prepare. Bankston disagrees.
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