Loughner In Court

Monday, January 24, 2011 - 1:17pm

Accused Tucson gunman Jared Loughner will appear in court today to hear the first charges against him.

Accused Tucson gunman Jared Loughner will be in court this afternoon in Phoenix to face the first set of charges against him.

Meanwhile Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the target of his assassination attempt, has started her rehab in Houston, but not without complications.

Doctors at Memorial Hermann Hospital have decided Giffords will stay in the intensive care unit a bit longer than first expected.

A build-up of fluids in her brain has prevented them from removing a temporary drain, an issue that must be resolved before she can leave the ICU.

Even with the delay Giffords has still apparently started her rehabilitation work.

Her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, sent this message on Twitter Sunday:

"Gabrielle starts her second day of rehab in 20 minutes at memorial Hermann no weekends off here."

Federal prosecutors worked through the weekend as well, filing paperwork Sunday to try and keep all future court appearances in Tucson.

That does not include a hearing later today when loughner will be back in a Phoenix courtroom to formally face two counts of attempted murder and one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress.

Loughner is expected to plead "not guilty", perhaps laying the ground work for his defense team to argue he is not guilty by reason of insanity.

It's a plea that's used in less than one-percent of all criminal trials and in those only accepted by the jury about a quarter of the time.

"That's very difficult in a case where you have evidence of premeditation, like they appear to have here," says former federal prosecutor Pete White.

The legal fight over Loughner's mental status will unfold over the next few weeks.

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