Judge won’t close hearings in Parkland school shooting case

Florida

FILE – In this Dec. 10, 2019 Nikolas Cruz appears at a hearing in Fort Lauderdale Fla. The death penalty trial of Cruz, the man charged with killing 17 people at a Florida high school is off indefinitely because of restrictions related to the coronavirus. Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer refused Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, to close pretrial hearings to the media and public in the case of the Cruz, accused of killing 17 people in a 2018 high school mass shooting. Cruz’s lawyers claim that intense media coverage jeopardizes his right to a fair trial. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool, File)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A Florida judge has refused to close pretrial hearings to the media and public in the case of the man accused of killing 17 people in a 2018 high school mass shooting.

Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer on Tuesday rejected a motion by defendant Nikolas Cruz’s lawyers claiming that intense pretrial media coverage jeopardizes his right to a fair trial. The motion had been opposed by The Associated Press and other media outlets.

The 22-year-old Cruz faces the death penalty if convicted in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Seventeen people died, and 17 were wounded in that shooting.

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