Report: Federal Loughner Trial May Move to San Diego

Posted January 17, 2011 at 9:46am

Updated: 2 p.m.

The federal trial of Jared Loughner is likely to move from Arizona to San Diego, federal law enforcement sources told the Washington Post on Sunday night.

Loughner, 22, is accused of the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six people and critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). Twelve other people were also injured.

Court officials told the Post that they plan to move the case out of Arizona within several weeks because of publicity and sensitivity concerns. The decision about changing the venue will be up to Judge Roslyn Silver, who succeeded John Roll as the state’s chief federal judge. Roll was one of the six killed in the shooting.

The Justice Department said Monday morning that prosecutors would strongly oppose moving the trial. “The Department plans to bring the case in Arizona and will oppose any change in venue motions,” spokesman Matthew Miller said. 

San Diego is a likely choice because of its proximity to Arizona. In addition, a federal judge from San Diego was appointed to hear the case after Arizona judges recused themselves. Loughner’s attorney, Judy Clarke, is based in the California city.