Sometimes, it’s just better to not accept certain clients. I talked about a major error by the Alex Jones lawyers here. Well, that same lawyer, Andino Reynal, was even then due to appear in a Connecticut district court for a show cause hearing regarding the disclosure by Alex Jones lawyers of confidential information about Sandy Hook families. See NBC news report here. A show cause hearing essentially amounts to a judge saying, “show me why I should not discipline you.” There were two Alex Jones lawyers involved in that hearing, Norm Pattis and Andino Reynal. Mr. Reynal also represented Jones at the Austin, Texas defamation trial in August. Both defense lawyers appeared for the Connecticut hearing. But, Mr. Pattis refused to testify. He cited the Fifth Amendment. The Judge remarked that it was unusual for a lawyer to refuse to testify during his own disciplinary hearing.
Mr. Reynal, however, did testify. He said that day in the Austin court when the opposing counsel used documents Reynal’s firm had inadvertently sent was the worst day of his legal career. He was said it was very embarrassing. He had just been hired by Mr. Jones in March and was still catching up with the case.
Mr. Reynal said the link had originally been sent by a different firm in Houston that represents Jones in his bankruptcy proceedings. Mr. Reynal said a paralegal had sent the link without Reynal checking the link himself. The bankruptcy lawyer, in turn obtained the link from Norm Pattis’ law firm. Reynal said the opposing attorney, Mark Bankston, simply told him the link included medical files. Reynal told Bankston to disregard the link, not realizing Bankston’s firm had already downloaded the files. Reynal said he was stunned when Bankstoin announced at trial that the file included medical files.
At the close of the show cause hearing, Judge Bellis asked the lawyers to submit briefs regarding the legal ramifications of a lawyer not testifying at a disciplinary hearing. See ABA Bar Journal report here.
But, in truth, she likely knows what that means. It means Mr. Pattis cannot defend himself against allegations that he violated confidentiality orders. And, there is a lesson here for all attorneys, be careful of the clients you accept.