TUCSON — More than 30 documents in the 2011 Tucson shooting rampage that wounded former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords should remain sealed because they still contain sensitive information, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Monday was the deadline set by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns for prosecutors and defense lawyers for Jared Lee Loughner to respond to a request to release remaining unredacted and-or sealed documents in the case.
Attorneys for The Washington Post, Phoenix TV station KPNX and Phoenix Newspapers Inc., which publishes The Arizona Republic, asked Burns in April to unseal any remaining documents in the case or “disclose any redacted information that no longer satisfies the First Amendment standard for secrecy.”
About 2,700 pages of investigative papers were released March 27 by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, but nearly 200 pages of documents remain sealed.
In their seven-page response, prosecutors said that 32 pages of the documents should stay under seal because they contain information on a grand jury member, confidential reports from the Bureau of Prisons about Loughner or confidential correspondences between attorneys.
Prosecutors said they took no position on 111 pages of sealed docket entries on defense motions and counsel payment vouchers and found no legal reason to object to unsealing another 54 pages on search warrant materials, court exhibits and transcripts.
There was no immediate response Monday from Loughner’s lead attorney Judy Clarke and no timetable from Burns on when he would rule in the matter.
Loughner, 24, was sentenced in November to seven consecutive life sentences, plus 140 years, after he pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges in the Tucson shooting that left six people dead and 13 others wounded, including Giffords.
The rampage occurred at a Giffords’ meet-and-greet with her constituents outside a Tucson supermarket on Jan. 8, 2011.
Giffords, 42, was shot once in the head. The Arizona Democrat resigned from Congress last year as she continues to recover from her injuries.
Loughner’s guilty plea enabled him to avoid the death penalty. He’s serving his sentence at a federal prison medical facility in Springfield, Mo., where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and forcibly given psychotropic drug treatments to make him fit for trial.
News outlets pushed for months for the release of all investigative records in the case, claiming Loughner’s fair-trial rights were no longer on the line now that his criminal case has been resolved.