Alex Jones Perry Mason moment reference explained amid revelatory text messages and possible perjury charges 

Alex Jones' attorneys have accidentally sent revelatory text messages to lawyers representing Sandy Hook defamation trial plaintiffs (Image via Getty Images)
Alex Jones' attorneys have accidentally sent revelatory text messages to lawyers representing Sandy Hook defamation trial plaintiffs (Image via Getty Images)

On Wednesday, August 3, Alex Jones took the stand to testify at the Sandy Hook defamation trial and was left shocked when the plaintiffs’ attorney Mark Bankston revealed that the former’s lawyer has sent him revelatory text messages from Jones’ phone by mistake.

The Infowars owner is currently on trial after being sued for $150 million by the parents of the late Sandy Hook shooting victim Jesse Lewis for saying that the 2012 massacre was a “hoax.”

During the latest hearing, Bankston told Jones that he was aware that the latter had been lying under oath as he received proof from his entire iPhone history from the last two years. The attorney said:

“Mr. Jones, did you know that 12 days ago, 12 days ago, your attorneys messed up and sent me an entire digital copy of your entire cell phone with every text message you’ve sent for the past two years?”

Bankston also clarified that he could share the evidence during the trial as Jones' lawyers were notified of their mistake, but they did not claim that the confidential phone records were protected under client-attorney privilege:

“And when informed, did not take any steps to identify it as privileged or protect it in any way?”

The lawyer mentioned that the text messages revealed that Jones had previously lied about not having any messages related to Sandy Hook on his phone:

“And as of two days ago, it fell free and clear into my possession and that is how I know you lied to me when you said you didn’t have a text message about Sandy Hook.”

In response to the revelation, a stunned Alex Jones responded to Bankston by making a Perry Mason reference:

“I guess this is your Perry Mason moment.”

Alex Jones has been accused of defamation and for promoting his conspiracy theories about what is considered to be one of the worst school shootings in American history. The plaintiffs have claimed that they have been consistently victimized due to the lies created by Jones surrounding the tragic incident.


What is a Perry Mason moment?

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A Perry Mason moment in US court proceedings can be defined as a situation where key information surrounding the case is revealed in an unexpected manner that dramatically affects the nature of the proceedings and often changes the outcome of the case.

The moment usually comes in the form of an answer from a witness or as new evidence. The name of the moment is derived from the fictional character of defense criminal lawyer Perry Mason, who appears in the stories of Erle Stanley Gardner.

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In these stories, the lawyer proves the innocence of his clients by uncovering the crimes of the real criminal. Perry Mason's fictional court cases often have moments where witnesses confess their own crimes, reveal inconsistency in their own accounts, and dramatically reverse the outcome of a case.

Reports suggest that Perry Mason moments are rare in American courts these days as both parties are careful about handling their respective cases. However, instances of such moments have been seen in high-profile cases like the O.J. Simpson Trial, Sylvia Likens case, First Menendez brothers trial and more recently, the Alex Jones defamation trial.

In the case of the latter, Jones himself mentioned the reference in court after the opposition lawyer revealed that he received several text messages from Alex Jones' own attorneys that went on to prove that the conspiracy theorist allegedly lied under oath about not having any messages related to the Sandy Hook shooting on his phone.


Will Alex Jones face perjury charges?

Legal experts said Alex Jones can face perjury if prosecutors decide to file a criminal case against him (Image via Getty Images)
Legal experts said Alex Jones can face perjury if prosecutors decide to file a criminal case against him (Image via Getty Images)

During the latest hearing of the ongoing Sandy Hook defamation trial against Alex Jones, attorney Mark Bankston revealed that he received accidental text messages from the former's own lawyers that showed he had previously lied under oath. The lawyer then asked:

“You know what perjury is, right? I just want to make sure before we go any further. You do know what it is?”

Although Jones claimed that he did not lie under oath, several legal experts opined that he could face perjury charges due to the latest revelation.

Neama Rahmani, former federal prosecutor and president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, told Insider that before deliberations, the jury is given a set of instructions that allowed them the right to disregard the entire testimony of an individual if they believe that the person lied about important information under oath:

“If the jurors believe that Alex Jones has lied about the texts, they're free to reject everything he's saying, which is huge.”

Matthew Barhoma, a criminal appeals attorney and founder of Power Trial Lawyers and Barhoma Law, shared that the revelation would shed bad light on Alex Jones' character:

“This is a bad day in court for Jones. It's a bad reflection as to his character and credibility which is especially on the line when you're on the stand."

Barhoma further mentioned that based on the recent revelations, authorities can take legal action against Jones' behavior:

“That's a verification that you make under oath and if it turns out later, which so happened here, it turns out later that's not true, that there are responsive text messages, there are responsive communications that should have been produced, that seems like bad faith, and that's very actionable.”
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Rahmani further added that, if Alex Jones truly lied under oath, Texas prosecutors can file for perjury against the conspiracy theorist:

“This is potentially a very big deal. And ultimately, if Alex Jones perjured himself, his legal problems are just beginning... If the referral happens, it's very very likely that Alex Jones will be prosecuted. And even if it doesn't, I think this is such an outrageous lie, that it's a very easy perjury case that I would expect Texas prosecutors to pick up.”

The lawyer also mentioned that prosecutors would make the final call about Jones facing a perjury charge for his behaviour. He also said that if Travis County District Court Judge Maya Guerra Gamble makes a referral, it would allow prosecutors a stronger chance to file for criminal action against the theorist.

As per Texas law, the offense of perjury can be classified into simple or aggravated forms. While the former is a misdemeanor that results in up to a year of jail time, the latter is a felony that can lead to up to 2-10 years of imprisonment.

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Edited by Susrita Das