Lawyer flips the bird at opposing counsel after judge leaves the bench in Infowars host Alex Jones' defamation case
Infowars host Alex Jones arrives at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas, on July 26 with a piece of tape over his mouth that reads “Save the 1st.” He shook hands with his lawyer, F. Andino Reynal. Photo by Briana Sanchez/The Austin American-Statesman via the Associated Press.
A lawyer for Infowars host Alex Jones called an opposing lawyer a liar and raised his middle finger after a courtroom discussion last week in a defamation damages trial over false claims by Jones about the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
Lawyer F. Andino Reynal apologized Thursday for his actions the day before, which happened outside the presence of Judge Maya Guerra Gamble of Travis County, Texas.
Reynal flipped the bird after a heated courtroom discussion before the judge outside the presence of jurors. Reynal wanted to introduce new video evidence, but opposing lawyer Mark Bankston opposed the idea because there wasn’t enough time to review it all. Reynal complained that videos that Blankston had shown jurors were “cherry-picked” and jurors had to see longer videos.
Bankston is on the legal team representing Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of a 6-year-old child killed in the 2012 mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. They claim that Jones defamed them and caused emotional distress when he called the Sandy Hook shooting a “giant hoax.” Gamble had entered a default judgment against Jones in September 2021 for failing to turn over requested information. The trial that began last week is to determine damages.
According to the NewsTimes, Reynal became “visibly frustrated” during the July 27 courtroom discussion, saying his opponents had already agreed that the videos could be introduced. Bankston countered that he never agreed to introduce the evidence. Reynal said the plaintiffs’ lawyers were “dishonest.”
Gamble said that, for now, she would assume that Reynal had been having a bad day. She added, however, that Reynal should review attorney ethics rules on courtroom decorum. She also told the lawyers to review the videos to decide what is admissible and said the matter would be discussed the next morning.
The discussion continued after Gamble left the room.
“During the conversation,” the NewsTimes reports. “Reynal got close to Bankston’s face and called him a ‘liar’ several times, before raising his middle finger at Bankston.” Another lawyer intervened, suggesting that the matter be discussed in a phone call after the lawyers could calm down.
Reynal was contrite Thursday morning, according to the Insider.
“I apologize for yesterday’s outburst,” he told Gamble. “It wasn’t appropriate.”
Reynal also said he had apologized in an email to the plaintiffs’ legal team.
Gamble had some advice for the lawyers.
“Next time anyone wants to have an argument, you need to take it outside,” she said.
Reynal has experience as a former federal prosecutor and as a lawyer for Baker Botts, according to information on his website noted by Law360.
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