A federal grand jury filed an initial indictment Wednesday against the man who tried to assassinate Congresswoman
Gabrielle Giffords earlier this month, dpa reported.
The grand jury announced its decision amid reports that Giffords would leave hospital as early as Friday to enter a rehabilitation centre to continue her remarkable recovery from the bullet wound to her head.
Her would-be assassin will face an initial three-count indictment that he attempted to assassinate Giffords and to murder two of her aides.
Six people were killed and 13 injured in the January 8 rampage at a Tucson, Arizona shopping mall where Giffords was meeting with constituents. Further charges will be forthcoming at both the federal and state level and Loughner could face the death penalty, said US attorney Dennis K Burke.
"Today, the Grand Jury returned an initial three-count indictment against
Jared Lee Loughner in the Tucson shooting case. We are in the early stages of this ongoing investigation. We have made considerable progress in a short period of time," said Burke.
"This case also involves potential death-penalty charges, and Department rules require us to pursue a deliberate and thorough process. Today's charges are just the beginning of our legal action, and we are working diligently to ensure that our investigation is thorough and that justice is done for the victims and their families."
Giffords remains in serious condition but her family said that she is now able to move all her limbs can follow instructions and even flicked through pictures on her husband's iPhone, according to a family email obtained by the New York Times. The email said that the Congresswoman would likely be moved Friday to a rehabilitation centre in Houston, Texas.
Investigators also revealed information Friday for the first time about what they had seen in the surveillance video of the attack. At a press conference police officials said the tape shows Loughner walk straight up to Giffords and fire a shot above her eyebrow from less than a metre away. He then starts randomly shooting bystanders with 31 more shots in the next 15 seconds. The tapes have not yet been released by the FBI since they constitute central evidence in the case against Loughner.