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Judge clears way for release of Tucson records

PHOENIX — A judge has cleared the way for the release of hundreds of pages of investigative files in the Tucson shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others more than two years ago.

An order by US District Judge Larry Burns that was released Tuesday grants a request made earlier this month by Star Publishing Company, which publishes the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson.

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Burns had previously prevented the Pima County Sheriff’s Office from releasing the records in response to a request from The Washington Post, ruling in March 2011 that Jared Lee Loughner’s right to a fair trial outweighed whatever disclosures might be authorized under state law. The judge noted in his latest ruling that Loughner’s fair-trial rights are no longer on the line, now that his criminal case has resolved.

It is now up to the Pima County Sheriff’s Office to respond to requests from news organizations for records.

Sheriff’s spokesman Tom Peine said the records would not be released Tuesday. It will take an unspecified amount of time to review the documents so that confidential information, such as medical information and the names of juveniles, can be redacted, he said.

The agency has not started reviewing the records.

Loughner, 24, pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges and was transported back to a federal prison medical facility in Springfield, Mo.

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