Jared Loughner Attorneys Join Prosecutors in Request to Bar Release of Victims' Autopsy Reports

ederal prosecutors handling the the trial of Jared Loughner, the lone suspect in the January 8, shooting rampage in Tucson, have requested a gag order that would bar the release of the autopsies of the six people killed during the attack. Today, Loughner's attorneys filed a similar request.

Prosecutors are concerned that media coverage could taint the jury pool, and they say the families of five of the six victims object to the release of the autopsies.

Prosecutors reportedly are also trying to block Pima County's Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Eric Peters and his staff from talking to the media about the case.

Today, Loughner's attorneys filed a one-sentence motion saying they join prosecutors in opposing the release of the autopsies, though, they provide no details about their reason for doing so.

So far, Loughner's been charged with two counts of attempted murder and one count of attempted assassination for the January 8, shooting rampage outside of a Tucson Safeway grocery store that left six dead, including federal Judge John Roll, and 13 others wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Loughner probably will be indicted in federal court on several other charges stemming from the attack, including two federal murder counts for the deaths of Roll and Giffords aide Gabriel Zimmerman.

Then, it's the state's turn. Loughner is facing a slew of other state charges that have not yet been filed. Federal statute requires the suspension of all state or local prosecutions while the federal case is pending. So state charges will be put on hold until the feds finish their case, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Pima County Attorney's Office announced earlier this month.

New federal charges are expected against Loughner before his next court hearing, scheduled for March 9, according to Burns.

Burns told attorneys that during the March 9 hearing, he would also schedule future hearings and set a date for trial. He ordered that the trial begin no later than September.

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James King
Contact: James King