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Watch: Nikolas Cruz Defense Goes to Court over Evidence Dispute


There’s a pretrial hearing scheduled for Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. in the murder case against Nikolas Cruz, 21. You can watch in the player above.

Prosecutors say he opened fire at his former school of Marjory Douglas High School on February 14, 2018, and killed 17 people. His defense doesn’t dispute this, but they’re trying to save him from the death penalty.

A hearing was briefly held Monday, December 9, but it ended after a sidebar. Jury selection in his trial is set to begin January 27, 2020, but the defense filed a motion Monday requesting for the case to be pushed back. They argued that there’re being rushed too fast, and were given less time than is customary for capital cases.

“Ironically, this Court has repeatedly praised defense counsel for their assiduous efforts, at the same time ignoring defense counsels’ admonitions that despite its unquestionable diligence and breakneck preparation speed, it will not be ready for trial in January 2020,” they wrote in a motion obtained by Law&Crime. “Nonetheless, this Court set a January 27, 2020 trial date, without discussion or input from defense counsel, as is customary in Broward County.”

Monday’s hearing originally covered two defense motions. Cruz’s attorneys argued that the Broward County Sheriff’s Office did not follow a court’s order to hand over important documents during discovery, and that the court took no action in addressing the violation of that court order.

“As a result of the Court’s inaction, no efforts have been made by the law enforcement agencies to whom this Court’s orders were directed, to ensure that all discovery had been timely provided to the Defense,” they wrote in a November 25 motion viewed by Law&Crime.

Cruz is charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder, and 17 counts of attempted murder in the first-degree.

17 people died at the shooting: 14-year-old student Alyssa Alhadeff, 35-year-old teacher Scott Beigel, 14-year-old student Martin Duque Anguiano, 17-year-old student Nicholas Dworet, 37-year-old assistant football coach Aaron Feis, 14-year-old student Jaime Guttenberg, 49-year-old athletic director Christopher Hixon, 15-year-old student Luke Hoyer, 14-year-old student Cara Loughran, 14-year-old student Gina Montalto, 17-year-old student Joaquin Oliver, 14-year-old student Alaina Petty, 18-year-old student Meadow Pollack, 17-year-old student Helena Ramsay, 14-year-old student Alexander Schachter, 16-year-old student Carmen Schentrup, and 15-year-old student Peter Wang.

Cathy Russon contributed to this report.

Update – December 9, 6:31 p.m.: We adjusted the article to show that the hearing scheduled for Monday, December 9 was very brief, and to reflect that another hearing is scheduled for the day after.

[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]

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