Loughner defense in 2011 rampage cost taxpayers $1.1 million, case documents reveal

Documents revealing legal fees among 60 unsealed; taxpayers picked up the tab
2013-07-06T00:00:00Z 2014-04-10T12:55:06Z Loughner defense in 2011 rampage cost taxpayers $1.1 million, case documents revealThe Associated Press The Associated Press
July 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Taxpayers spent more than $1 million to defend Jared Lee Loughner in the Tucson shooting case, newly released court documents show.

Documents related to billing by Loughner's two appointed attorneys, Judy Clarke and Mark Fleming, were part of a package of 60 documents a federal judge unsealed Friday in the 2011 rampage on the northwest side. Six people were killed and 13 wounded, including then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Some 20 other records will remain under wraps because of privacy issues.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns wrote that Loughner's lawyers were paid on a monthly basis at an hourly rate of $178. He said "the lump sum that Ms. Clarke and Mr. Fleming received for their work" in the case was nearly $1.1 million.

Most of the documents that Burns ruled must remain sealed contain confidential reports from the Bureau of Prisons about Loughner.

Burns' seven-page ruling released Friday said some of the documents "were not made publicly available because they contained Mr. Loughner's confidential medical information along with internal prison records and correspondences."

"These documents may remain sealed to protect Mr. Loughner's medical privacy," Burns wrote.

Others documents staying sealed include prison records pertaining to Loughner's mental evaluation, notes from his prison psychologist, correspondence between lawyers, defense-attorney strategy in the case and information about Loughner's parents.

Loughner, 24, was sentenced in November to seven consecutive life sentences, plus 140 years, after he pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges in the shootings.

The rampage occurred at Giffords' "Congress on Your Corner" meet-and-greet with her constituents outside a northwest-side supermarket on Jan. 8, 2011.

Giffords was shot once in the head. Giffords, a Democrat, resigned from Congress last year as she continues to recover from her injuries.

She and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, have become advocates for expanded background checks for gun buyers. The couple were in New Hampshire this week as part of a cross-country trek called the "Rights and Responsibilities Tour."

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 drugs to make him fit for trial.

Attorneys for three media outlets asked Burns in April to unseal any remaining documents, saying Loughner's fair-trial rights were no longer on the line now that his criminal case has been resolved.

About 2,700 pages of investigative papers were released in March, and about 600 photos and images taken by investigators in the aftermath of the shooting were released in May.

Among the documents Burns ordered unsealed Friday were some search warrants detailing what authorities found at Loughner's Tucson home after the shooting, but they contained little new information.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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