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By Pete Williams Justice correspondent
NBC News
updated 6/10/2011 3:27:42 PM ET 2011-06-10T19:27:42

The man charged with the Tucson shootings that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords severely wounded in January has been unable to tell his lawyers about the rampage, according to newly filed court documents that shed further light on his mental state.

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Lawyers for Jared Loughner indicate that he also hasn't been able to tell them about his first stay at the prison hospital in Springfield, Mo., where he was evaluated after the shooting.

"Mr. Loughner is unable to communicate rationally with counsel not only about his case, but also about information provided to him by" the prison hospital staff, they say, citing what they call "the pervasive nature of Mr. Loughner's illness and its severe impact on his rational understanding and ability to communicate."

Their observations come in a renewed request that they be notified and given a chance to go to court, if necessary, if the hospital seeks to administer drugs.

"It is our understanding that FMC Springfield staff will encourage Mr. Loughner to take psychotropic medications, many of which have serious and possibly permanent side effects, as well as the potential for far-reaching impact on Mr. Loughner's ability to assist in his defense," they say.

And while the lawyers recognize that the doctors have an obligation to talk with Loughner about the benefits and risks of medications, they say it's questionable whether he has the ability to give informed consent.

The judge has not yet ruled on their request.

Story: Ariz. shooting spree suspect incompetent for trial

Loughner is charged with in the Jan. 8 shooting rampage that killed six people, including a federal judge, and wounded 13 others in Tucson, Ariz. The attack came at a meeting with constituents held by Giffords, who was shot in the head but survived and is undergoing rehabilitation therapy.

A judge last month declared Loughner mentally incapable of participating in his defense and sent him to the same federal facility in Springfield, Mo., where they will try to treat his condition and make it possible to put him on trial.

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Video: Staff: Giffords struggling to communicate

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