Cruz’s defense team seeks to keep court filings sealed

David Fleshler And Megan O'Matz
Sun Sentinel

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Defense lawyers for Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz attempted to keep documents sealed Monday, in a Fort Lauderdale court hearing held without the defendant’s presence.

Cruz said nothing at Monday’s hearing in Broward County Circuit Court, which he attended wearing a prison jumpsuit. He kept his head down and did not appear to make eye contact with the judge or others in the courtroom, though he responded briefly to someone on the defense team at the end of the hearing.

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.

The brief court hearing adjourned without an immediate decision and was set to resume at 1 p.m. Monday.

Lead defense attorney Melisa McNeill argued against requiring Cruz to be in court Monday afternoon, 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. Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer sided with prosecutors on whether Cruz should be in court.