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Defense attorneys for alleged Aurora theater shooter James Holmes are trying to prove that the professional relationship between him and his psychiatrist continued after he withdrew from his graduate program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

They are in court arguing over whether a package Holmes mailed to Dr. Lynne Fenton on July 19 — the day before he allegedly opened fire on a crowded movie theater killing 12 and injuring 58 others — should be opened and released to prosecutors.

According to court testimony that began at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Holmes saw Fenton on June 11, the day after he withdrew from CU.

His lawyers will try to argue that the professional relationship between Holmes and Fenton continued beyond the June 11 visit and so the package — and the notebook it reportedly contains — is protected under doctor-patient confidentiality and should be returned to Holmes.

Prosecutors contend the package fits within an exemption to that confidentiality.

The hearing recessed briefly around 2:30 and then resumed.

The hearing follows weeks of legal sparring between prosecutors and defense attorneys over the fate of the package Holmes mailed, which currently sits sealed away in an Arapahoe County court clerk's office.

During a hearing last week, the two sides fought over whether prosecutors should have access to roughly 100 pages of educational records about Holmes from the University of Colorado. Prosecutors said they needed the records for their arguments about the notebook, but also contended that Holmes' experience on campus — which prosecutors alleged he was eventually banned from — was relevant to the case.

The judge ruled that some records could be turned over to prosecutors with redactions, though it is unclear which records were released.

Also following last week's hearing, defense attorneys filed a motion asking for sanctions against the prosecution for "reckless disregard for the truth." The court document that notes the existence of the motion does not provide additional details. At last week's hearing, Holmes' attorneys disputed several prosecution statements, and a CU spokeswoman subsequently denied that Holmes had been banned from campus.

John Ingold: 303-954-1068, jingold@denverpost.com or twitter.com/john_ingold