Court overturns suspension of Alex Jones’ lawyer in Sandy Hook case that led to $1.4B judgment

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut court on Thursday overturned a six-month suspension given to a lawyer for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for improperly giving Jones’ Texas attorneys confidential documents, including the medical records of relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The state Appellate Court ruled that a judge incorrectly found that attorney Norman Pattis violated certain professional conduct rules and ordered a new hearing before a different judge on possible sanctions. The court, however, upheld other misconduct findings by the judge.

Pattis defended Jones against a lawsuit by many of the Sandy Hook victims’ families that resulted in Jones being ordered to pay more than $1.4 billion in damages after a jury trial in Connecticut in October 2022.

The families sued Jones for defamation and emotional distress for his repeated claims that the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax. Twenty first graders and six educators were killed. The families said Jones’ followers harassed and terrorized them.

The trial judge, Barbara Bellis, suspended Pattis in January 2023, saying he failed to safeguard the families’ sensitive records in violation of a court order, which limited access to the documents to attorneys in the Connecticut case. She called his actions an “abject failure” and “inexcusable.”

Pattis had argued there was no proof he violated any conduct rules and called the records release an “innocent mistake.” His suspension was put on hold during the Appellate Court review.

“I am grateful to the appellate court panel,” Pattis said in a text message Thursday. “The Jones courtroom was unlike any I had ever appeared in.”

Bellis and the state judicial branch declined to comment through a spokesperson.

The Sandy Hook families’ lawyers gave Pattis nearly 400,000 pages of documents as part of discovery in the Connecticut case, including about 4,000 pages that contained the families’ medical records. Pattis’ office sent an external hard drive containing the records to another Jones lawyer in Texas, at that attorney’s request. The Texas lawyer then shared it with another Jones attorney.

The records were never publicly released.

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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