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Official: Bogus lawsuit filed in name of Giffords’ shooter

TUCSON, Ariz. — A lawsuit filed in the name of the man who shot former U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is bogus, an official said Thursday.

The case was filed last week in federal court in Phoenix under Jared Lee Loughner’s name. It was similar to a recent bogus lawsuit claiming to be from an Uber driver accused in a string of Kalamazoo, Michigan, killings.

The latest lawsuit claims Loughner was framed and seeks $25 million in damages from Giffords. But the convicted killer’s attorneys notified the court that he didn’t file or authorize the case, said Cosme Lopez, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona.

The lawsuit was mailed from Philadelphia, though it wasn’t immediately clear by whom. Loughner is imprisoned in Minnesota at the Rochester Federal Medical Center.

Someone in Philadelphia also filed the case that falsely claimed to be from Jason Dalton, who is charged in the Feb. 20 killing of six people and wounding of two others in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

That lawsuit sought $10 million from the ride-hailing service. Officials became suspicious after seeing a Philadelphia postmark on the envelope it was mailed in.

The U.S. District Court-District of Arizona hasn’t ruled yet on whether the latest lawsuit can go forward, court clerk Brian Karth said.

Federal lawsuits can be filed in person or by mail. Staff attorneys sort through new filings and send them to a judge, who either dismisses them or assigns them to another judge.

Karth said it’s common for inmates to file lawsuits and that the process to file a suit is relatively easy.

“Obviously this was something we received through the mail, so there’s no way to validate who filed it,” Karth said.

Loughner, 27, is serving life in prison after pleading guilty to killing six people and injuring 13 during a January 2011 mass shooting in Tucson that targeted Giffords, who was shot in the head and severely injured.

Loughner is schizophrenic and was medicated under a court order during his trial.

None of the attorneys listed for Loughner returned calls or emails from The Associated Press on Thursday. A Giffords spokesman said the former congresswoman was not commenting on the matter.

In the Michigan case, authorities say that between picking up Uber fares, Dalton opened fire on people at three locations, and that he didn’t know any of the victims.

According to police, Dalton told investigators that “a devil figure” on Uber’s app was controlling him.