Sandy Hook victim's brother is 'shocked' that a letter Trump once sent him turned up in a Mar-a-Lago evidence photo

  • JT Lewis, whose brother Jesse died at Sandy Hook, was "shocked" by a Mar-a-Lago evidence photo.

  • It showed that a box containing classified documents also held a letter Trump sent him in 2018.

  • "It was nice of him to keep the letter," Lewis said.

In 2018, JT Lewis, whose little brother Jesse died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, received a signed letter from Donald Trump. He keeps it in a frame above his living room couch, where he sees it every day.

He was "shocked" this week when an image of the letter turned up in a widely publicized prosecution filing in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.

The image shows an unsigned draft of the letter he cherishes resting inside a box, on top of other presidential mementos, including newspaper articles and notes on White House stationary.

It was one in a series of evidence photos that prosecutors with special counsel Jack Smith say shows Trump mingled presidential "keepsakes" with national secrets.

This evidence photo from the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case shows a letter Donald Trump sent in 2018 to the older brother of a Sandy Hook shooting victim.
This evidence photo from the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case shows a letter Donald Trump sent in 2018 to the older brother of a Sandy Hook shooting victim.DOJ/Business Insider

"It was nice of him to keep the letter," Lewis said Wednesday.

"It's word for word," what Trump sent him in June 2018, he said. "Except Jack Smith blacked out my name, and it's not signed," he added. "My copy is signed, of course."

In the letter, Trump thanks Lewis for coming to the White House "for discussions regarding the safety of our schools."

Trump's letter tells Lewis that the nation will forever remember the 2012 tragedy, in which 20 children and seven adults died, and it thanks Lewis for being "a meaningful example of the healing power of helping others" through his organization, Newtown Helps Rwanda.

Lewis and his mother, Scarlett Lewis, were invited to the White House six years after the Sandy Hook shooting and soon after the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting to speak with Trump about his National School Safety Initiative.

Both mother and son were by then school-safety activists, JT through the now-defunct Rwanda initiative and Scarlett through the still-active, which advocates for life-skills programs for kids to help prevent more shootings.

"That's partially how he healed, by helping other people," Scarlett Lewis told Business Insider Wednesday of JT, who was 12 when his 6-year-old brother died.

"To have a president acknowledge that, and write him a letter and sign it personally was very meaningful to JT," she said. "And then to see that it was something he kept was very, very moving," she said of Trump.

"He was shocked to see Trump kept the letter."

JT Lewis said Wednesday he remains a huge fan of Trump.

"I was actually just with him two days ago in New Orleans at a fundraiser," he said.

"We were able to catch up. I wish it had happened before that," he said of the letter resurfacing. "I would have talked about it with him."

Jesse McCord Lewis died shortly after shouting "Run!" while directing classmates to safety, according to his obituary and multiple news accounts. June 30 would have been his 13th birthday.

Rather than run himself, he stayed behind to help a "beloved teacher," Victoria Soto, as she lay dying, Scarlett Lewis told BI.

"Jesse saved nine classmates, and a lot of the kids are in the news, graduating from high school and giving him credit for saving their lives," the mom said.

Read the original article on Business Insider