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Loughner Trial In Tucson? Judge Approves Move

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PHOENIX (Reuters) A federal judge has approved moving court proceedings to Tucson, Arizona from Phoenix for Jared Lee Loughner, the 22-year-old college dropout accused in a shooting rampage there, court filings said on Monday.

U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns signed off on the agreement between prosecutors and defense attorneys to move the case to the same city where the shootings occurred on January 8, court papers said.

Burns wrote that the order "does not affect the defendant's right to move for a change of venue in the future."

Loughner has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of attempting to assassinate U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and attempted murder of her two staff members.

Authorities allege that Loughner went to a grocery store where Giffords was conducting a community event and opened fire, killing six people and wounding 13 others.

Among those killed was U.S. District Judge John Roll.

Giffords was shot through the head, but survived, and is undergoing rehabilitation in Houston, Texas.

Burns took over the case when all federal judges in Arizona recused themselves because one of the shooting victims was their colleague, Judge Roll. Burns normally works out of the southern district of California.

Loughner could face up to life in prison if convicted of trying to kill the lawmaker. The other two attempted murder charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Greg McCune)

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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