Prosecutors: Holmes was banned from university after threats

Sources tell CBS News that before the Aurora movie theater shooting, suspected gunman James Holmes was seen by at least three mental health professionals at the University of Colorado where he was once a student. Barry Petersen reports.

Updated 8:45 PM ET

(CBS/AP) DENVER - Prosecutors say the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting made threats and was banned from the University of Colorado after failing a key exam six weeks before the rampage.

Prosecutors made the accusations about James Holmes in court Thursday as they tried to convince a judge to let them see records from the university, where Holmes had been a neuroscience doctoral candidate.

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Prosecutors also claim professors had urged Holmes to get into another line of work before the shooting and invalidated his student ID in June. Attorney Karen Pearson didn't disclose where their information came from.

Defense lawyer Daniel King objected to the release of the records, calling the prosecution's request a "fishing expedition."

"They already know all about Mr. Holmes' history at CU. Why is it necessary to get more information when they have all the evidence, they have what they're seeking?" he said.

King added that the "prosecution is fishing around looking for motive. Motive is irrelevant. Intent is irrelevant."

Defense attorney Tamara Brady's legal reasoning about why Holmes' educational records should be off limits is unavailable. That portion of the court file remains sealed.

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others in a July 20 shooting at an Aurora theater.

During the hearing, Holmes appeared to be listening and made eye contact with the judge.

Prosecutors are seeking copies of 100 pages of non-medical education records subpoenaed by prosecutors and turned over last week by the school to Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester.

Sources briefed on the investigation told CBS News correspondent John Miller that what the University of Colorado knew ahead of the movie theater shooting and when they knew it is going to generate a lot of controversy when the information is released. Thursday's hearing provided a small piece to that picture.

Meanwhile, a University of Colorado spokeswoman said a criminal background check was done on Holmes before the July 20 attack.

Jacque Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the university's Denver campus, said Thursday a court gag order prevented her from discussing who requested the check, who performed it, and who saw the results.

Montgomery's statement was believed to be the first explicit public confirmation that a check had been done on Holmes' background before the shootings.

Montgomery did say that Campus Police Chief Doug Abraham was referring to that background check when he said at a July 23 news conference that Holmes had only a minor infraction on his record.

Prosecutors are also hoping to gain access to a notebook reportedly containing violent description of an attack. The notebook reportedly was in a package sent to CU psychiatrist Lynne Fenton.

Court papers previously filed by defense attorney for Holmes disclosed that prior to withdrawing from the university, he was a psychiatric patient of Fenton. Sources told CBS News Fenton became concerned enough to notify campus police about Holmes, and his name was brought to the attention of the university's Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment team, or BETA for short.

Holmes was seen by at least three different mental health professionals from the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus during his time as a neuroscience Ph.D. student, even while investigators believe he began the initial planning to carry out the massacre, CBS News reported.

An official who has been briefed on the investigation and spoke to CBS News on the condition of anonymity said Holmes' statements to university officials as well as their notes and reports will raise questions about whether more could have been done before the shooting.

"The question, what did the university know, and when did they know it, is still the untold part of this story," the official said.