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Prosecutors seek Loughner's medical records

Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to order doctors who have treated the accused Jan. 8 shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, to turn over his medical records to a psychologist assessing his fitness for trial.

According to a document filed Friday and released Monday, prosecutors want the court to order Loughner's former pediatrician and other doctors to turn over records to Dr. Christina Pietz, who is evaluating his ability to assist in his own defense.

Loughner, 22, was sent to Missouri last month to undergo a mental competency exam at a Bureau of Prisons medical facility. Defense attorneys tried to block the move, saying the exam should be performed in Tucson or San Diego.

Besides those from Loughner's childhood doctors, prosecutors say they are are seeking medical records related to a 2006 incident when Loughner was "extremely intoxicated" at Mountain View High School, and unknown treatment he received at Northwest Medical Center Urgent Care in 2004:

Dr. Pietz has advised undersigned counsel that records from these types of medical care providers would be useful in her evaluation of the defendant because they may help her understand the defendant’s personality, mental condition, and other relevant issues. For example, the defendant’s pediatric records, according to Dr. Pietz, may reflect his mental and emotional development as a child, the pediatrician’s observations of the defendant, and any childhood injuries, among other information. Records documenting the defendant’s intoxication and his subsequent evaluation and treatment for the 2006 episode could also shed light on any underlying psychological issues that may exist. Dr. Pietz is aware of this incident from other records provided to her and finds this to be a significant event, and would like the opportunity to review this material. Although the government does not know the nature of the treatment of the defendant at the Northwest Medical Center Urgent Care, this medical record would be relevant like any other to determine whether it bears on the defendant’s mental condition and other relevant competency issues.

The defense has declined to provide any records to Pietz, while attorneys pursue an appeal of the order sending Loughner to Missouri.

In March, Loughner was charged with 49 federal counts in what authorities charge was an assassination attempt on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords at a Jan. 8 meet and greet with constituents. Not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns.

Six were killed and 13 wounded in the mass shooting, including Giffords. The congresswoman is recovering from a gunshot wound to the head at a Houston rehab facility. The other surviving victims have been released from the hospital.

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Fourteen of the charges Loughner faces could result in the death penalty, if the prosecution seeks it. No decision of whether to ask for capital punishment has been made, authorities have said.

Loughner will likely face local charges in the shooting incident, authorities have said.

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