Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz sat with his head bowed, barely acknowledging his attorneys, during a brief hearing Monday in a heavily guarded Fort Lauderdale courtroom.
At issue was a motion filed under seal Friday by Cruz’s defense team, two days after the shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The sealed document was not described. The defense also signaled that they would want to keep future documents under seal.
Broward Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Scherer agreed to a defense request to allow the motion to remain sealed, saying it concerned a narrow issue of attorneys’ access to their client.
Prior to the judge’s entrance, Cruz sat with his lawyers on either side. He appeared to sign a document, as one of his lawyers blocked the view with a legal pad. He nodded once or twice to acknowledge things they said to him, but otherwise stared down during the entire proceeding.
Earlier Monday morning, lead defense attorney Melisa McNeill had argued against requiring Cruz to be in court Monday afternoon for the hearing, saying his presence would just be “an opportunity for the media to have a circus with him.”
But prosecutors wanted him in court, saying they didn’t know what was in the motion so they could not waive the defendant’s presence.
SOURCE: Sun Sentinel, David Fleshler and Megan O’Matz