Accused Tucson gunman Jared Loughner has been charged with 49 federal counts of murder under a new legal theory to protect the public’s right to assemble for meetings with federal officials, reports the Washington Post. Loughner has been arraigned on three counts of attempted murder against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and two aides as they gathered at a supermarket to meet with constituents.
U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke is pursuing the argument that the shootings occurred on protected federal ground, as if they happened in Congress. Six people, including a chief federal district judge, were killed, and 13 were injured. Burke said he wants to seek justice for all the victims and make no distinction between those who were federal employees and those who were merely attending the congresswoman’s event.