Clarke previously represented "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski and assisted in the case of confessed al Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui. Fleming represented Aryan Brotherhood defendant Travis Dally in a federal capital murder case in New Mexico.
"After careful reflection and discussion, this Office has determined that it should not represent Mr. Loughner," the office wrote in a motion filed on Monday. "Given the gravity of the charges, the possibility of the death penalty, and our discussions with the U.S. Attorney's office concerning the charges, we believe that death-qualified counsel must be appointed."
"Discussions with the Administrative Office of the Courts and specifically the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel, and discussions with experienced death counsel, led to the names of Judy Clarke and Mark Fleming as appropriate learned counsel for this case," Public Defender Jon M. Sands writes. "Reuben Cahn, Executive Director of the Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., has also agreed to be appointed on this case."
On the Justice Department side of the docket, Assistant U.S. Attorney Wallace H. Kleindienst has been substituted in place of Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Cunningham, according to a filing by Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke.
Loughner was charged yesterday on a count of attempting to kill Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), two counts of first degree murder of federal employees and two counts of attempted murder of federal employees.
Loughner will appear in court today at 4 p.m. EST.
Additional reporting by Alex Sciuto.