HARTFORD, Conn. -- During his Infowars internet radio show last Friday, lawyers for Sandy Hook families who are suing Alex Jones say the controversial radio host threatened one of them when he discussed the presence of child pornography in emails from his program's computer server.
A Superior Court judge will hold an emergency hearing Tuesday in Bridgeport on the alleged threat. Jones appeared to threaten Chris Mattei, a lawyer for the Sandy Hook families, when he announced a $1 million reward for any information and then the conviction of the person who he said planted pornography on his company's webserver.
Late Monday, Norm Pattis, Jones's attorney, filed a motion asking Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis to issue a stay in the case while an investigation is done into whether Pattis can no longer represent Jones because of a possible conflict of interest.
"The plaintiffs allegations have raised serious issues concerning conflicts of interests in this case between the Jones defendants and undersigned counsel," Pattis wrote, adding an investigation must be conducted into whether he can no longer represent Jones.
Pattis said he has already begun one internally. The motion doesn't say whether he expects Bellis to order an independent one.
The FBI has been investigating child porn sent to Jones after lawyers for the Sandy Hook families found images turned over to them in connection with their lawsuit against Jones.
"Out of hundreds of thousands of emails they got, and they know just where to go. What a nice group of Democrats. How surprising. What nice people. Chris Mattei. Chris Mattei," Jones said, pounding a picture of Mattei with his fist. "Let's zoom in on Chris Mattei. Oh, nice little Chris Mattei. What a good American. What a good boy. You think you'll put on me, what ... I'm gonna kill ... Anyway, I'm done! Total war! You want it, you got it!" Jones said on his show.
On Monday, lawyers from Koskoff, Koskoff & Beider asked Bellis to hold an emergency hearing on Jones's threats, saying "the court has an obligation to protect the attorneys, parties, and the judicial process."
Jones is being sued by several victims of the Sandy Hook school massacre. They are alleging he and his company have profited from spreading the story that the shooting was a hoax. He has hired Connecticut lawyer Norm Pattis to represent him after Judge Barbara Bellis grew frustrated that Jones and Infowars weren't complying with simple discovery requests and threatened to sanction Jones.
The plaintiffs include the parents of four children killed at the Newtown school: Jacqueline and Mark Barden, parents of Daniel; Nicole and Ian Hockley, parents of Dylan; Francine and David Wheeler, parents of Ben; and Jennifer Hensel and Jeremy Richman, parents of Avielle Richman. Other plaintiffs are relatives of slain first-grade teacher Victoria Leigh Soto; Erica Lafferty-Garbatini, daughter of slain Principal Dawn Hochsprung; and William Aldenberg, a longtime FBI agent and a first responder.
The lawsuit accuses Jones of orchestrating a sustained attack that lasted for years, accusing family members of being actors, stating as fact that the shooting was a hoax and inciting others to act on those claims all because it was good for his ratings, drew advertisers and made him money.
The lawyers have been fighting about access to Jones data regarding marketing and other metrics for the show. The families allege that Jones profited off of claiming the shooting was a hoax. Jones has since publicly said he believes that the Sandy Hook School shooting did happen.
Adam Lanza killed 26 people, including 20 first graders after he shot his way into the school on Dec. 14, 2012.
The Jones group turned over millions of emails without vetting them. Some of those contained child pornography.
"The plaintiffs' Electronically Stored Information (ESI) consultants began loading files into a document review database in an effort to make them reviewable by counsel as quickly as possible. During that process, the consultants identified an image that appeared to be child pornography," William Bloss, a lawyer for the Sandy Hook families, wrote.
"They immediately contacted counsel, who immediately contacted the FBI. The FBI directed counsel to give control of the entire document production to the FBI, which was done. The FBI advised counsel that its review located numerous additional illegal images, which had apparently been sent to Infowars email addresses," Bloss said.
Bloss added if the Jones defendants had engaged in even minimal due diligence and actually reviewed the materials before production, they would have found the images themselves.
Pattis appeared on Jones' show late Friday afternoon to discuss the incident. Pattis said the FBI has informed him and Jones that they know the child pornography was sent to them by unknown parties. But before he did Jones went on a five-minute, profanity-laced rant about "someone setting him up" and then announced the reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of whoever infiltrated the his company's servers.
"These were emails that if you, me or one of your workers had opened we would have been subjected to five years in federal prison," Pattis said.
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