Jared Lee Loughner, the 22-year-old accused of attempting to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and killing several others in a mass shooting spree in Arizona earlier this month, pleaded not guilty in federal court in Phoenix on Monday.
Loughner was wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and wire-rimmed glasses and was seen smiling, nodding and chatting with his lawyer, who entered his plea on his behalf, Reuters reports. The newswire said the hair on his shaved head was starting to grow back.
Surprisingly, his lawyer Judy Clarke did not oppose a motion by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona to move the trial back to Tucson, where it would be easier for the families of victims of the shooting to attend, MSNBC reported.
Federal prosecutors last week indicted Loughner on charges he attempted to murder of Giffords and two of her aides, Ron Barber and Pamela Simon. Charges for the murder of federal judge John Roll and Giffords aide Gabe Zimmerman (in addition to state murder charges for the non-federal employees killed in the massacre) are expected down the line. Prosecutors have indicated they intend to seek the death penalty.
Prosecutors also turned over to the defense information they obtained from Loughner’s computer and 250 interviews, said Sandhya Somashekhar of the Washington Post.