Norman Pattis, a lawyer who represents Infowars founder Alex Jones, was suspended Thursday from practicing law in Connecticut for six months after a judge found that he improperly released the confidential medical records of family members of Sandy Hook victims.
Jones was ordered to pay nearly $1.5 billion in damages for years of lies that the shooting was a hoax. He has said he will appeal the ruling and has filed for bankruptcy protection.
In the Connecticut trial, family members testified that they had experienced years of harassment and anguish after Jones called them actors and said the shooting was staged. As part of the discovery process in the trial, about 4,000 pages of their medical and mental health records were released to lawyers in the case.
Barbara Bellis, a superior court judge in Connecticut, said in her ruling Thursday that Pattis was repeatedly told to safeguard the records since the families had grave concerns that they would be improperly disseminated.
“Incredibly,” the judge wrote, Pattis ignored those concerns and shared the records with lawyers representing Jones in legal proceedings in Texas.
Not only did Pattis improperly release the records, she wrote, he did so without even telling the recipients that the material was sensitive and protected by court order.
That led to the families’ “most private” information being released to lawyers who were not involved in the Connecticut defamation case, Bellis wrote.
She noted that Pattis, who is based in New Haven, has practiced law in Connecticut for nearly 30 years. “Given his experience, there is no acceptable excuse for his misconduct,” she said.
On Friday, Pattis said he was “looking forward” to appealing the suspension. During a disciplinary hearing on the matter in August, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
A spokesperson for the Sandy Hook families involved in the Connecticut defamation case declined to comment on Pattis’s suspension.
Pattis’s suspension could disrupt his representation of other clients, which include prominent white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes, who dined with Donald Trump at his Palm Beach club in November, and Florida Proud Boys member Joe Biggs, whose seditious conspiracy trial in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol is set to open Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
During jury selection for the Biggs trial on Friday, Pattis made no legal arguments but said he would file an “emergency application for injunctive relief” with the D.C. court that would give him “relief from automatic suspension” while he appeals the Connecticut ruling.
Pattis said he would like that motion to be heard Monday afternoon. U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly of Washington, D.C., rolled his eyes as Pattis spoke, clarifying that his exasperation was with the situation, not Pattis. Biggs also has another attorney representing him, Daniel Hull.