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A Digital Booby Trap (Also, A Flagrantly False Article)

Joe Ranvestel

Posted on June 17, 2019 21:56

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In the ongoing litigation against Alex Jones regarding the Sandy Hook shooting, an attempt to frame Jones was made. First, though, we need to debunk one of the articles framing this issue.

During the course of a lawsuit, both parties are going to conduct discovery, learning what they can about each other to prepare for upcoming legal arguments. In the ongoing litigation between Alex Jones and the parents of Sandy Hook shooting victims, discovery has recently been tendered by Jones to the plaintiff lawyers, which included an array of electronic files, metadata, and email access. In reviewing the Jones data, the plaintiff lawyers came across child pornography in the materials. 

Now first, I'd like to cover one article, which wildly misstates the incident, and then cover another which gives a better picture of what happened. 

If you were to find the story on The Guardian, you'd find a headline which reads: "Alex Jones sent Sandy Hook victims files with child sex abuse images, say lawyers." The article alleges that Jones sent the illicit materials to the plaintiff lawyers, that Jones denies the allegations, and states he is being framed. It then spends several paragraphs detailing the context of the controversy. 

Conversely, if you were to find the story on CNBC, you'd find a much different perspective. That article, titled "Infowars host Alex Jones accused of threatening Sandy Hook lawyers after child porn is found in his electronic files, court document says," the article explains how, when the lawyers reviewed his files, they found the data in his email server, unopened. They brought the data to the FBI, and Alex Jones denied the allegations and accused opposing counsel of setting him up. The FBI, upon review of the data, saw that, because the illicit materials were sent to the Jones email and were unopened, there was no knowledge of them on Jones' behalf. After Jones had heatedly accused the opposing counsel of setting him up, the FBI filing addressing the investigation even chastised Jones by saying “ ... if the Jones Defendants had engaged in even minimal due diligence and actually reviewed the materials before production [to the plaintiffs], they would have found the images themselves.” 

Now, much of this second article and some of the first focuses on alleged threats Jones made to the opposing counsel following this incident, upon the belief he was being framed. But the part of the story that seems to get buried is that someone sent Jones child pornography: an individual who has yet to be identified and is not only willing to attack a public figure but also has their hands on disturbing materials. It's worrisome to think that, when someone is targeted with a "digital booby trap" as Jones put it, the story will focus more on the reaction to the trap, and on alleged past transgressions, than on the element of using disturbing illegal materials to frame someone. 

 

Joe Ranvestel

Posted on June 17, 2019 21:56

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Source: NYT

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