Conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones sued the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot on Monday, arguing that it doesn't have the authority to subpoena him to answer questions about the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The lawsuit seeks to block the bipartisan panel from moving forward with its deposition of Jones on Jan. 10 and to void the committee's subpoenas for documents and phone records.
The suit says Jones has "offered to submit documents and answer written questions with written responses," adding, "The Select Committee has refused to accept that offer and insists that he appear in person for a deposition."
The lawsuit also says that Jones, the founder of the far-right website Infowars, on which he is a prominent host, plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent if he is forced to testify and that the committee is violating his First Amendment right as "a journalist."
"Jones has good and substantial reason to fear that the Select Committee may cite him for contempt of Congress if he refuses to answer its questions on grounds of constitutional privilege," the suit says.
In a letter to Jones last month, the committee's chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said the committee had evidence that Jones was involved in the planning and funding for the rally at the Ellipse immediately before the Jan. 6 riot and that he was supposed to lead rallygoers to the Capitol that day. The letter also said Jones heavily promoted the rally on his shows, including referring to then-President Donald Trump's tweet that the rally would be "wild" and "one of the most historic events in American history."
Jones' lawsuit makes arguments similar to those that other witnesses have used to challenge the House committee. Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows questioned the panel's authority in a lawsuit.
Jones contends that the committee lacks valid legislative power because it is not evenly balanced with Republicans and questions whether one committee member, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., is still a Republican because she has "been expelled from the Wyoming Republican Party."
The nine-member committee consists of two Republicans and seven Democrats.
The committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Jones' lawsuit.
Jones and other Trump allies who have sued the panel face uphill legal battles. In a ruling this month on Trump's effort to block the committee from obtaining his records from the National Archives, a three-judge panel found that the committee "plainly has a 'valid legislative purpose' and its inquiry 'concern[s] a subject on which legislation could be had.'”
Jones filed the lawsuit on the heels of an unrelated court defeat. Last month, a judge found him liable for damages in defamation suits brought by the parents of children who were killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut. Jones had claimed that the shooting was a "giant hoax."