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Florida high school shooting defendant wants hearings closed

School Shooting-Florida
Posted at 5:49 PM, Jul 09, 2021

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Attorneys for the man accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school in 2018 want a judge to close all future hearings to the media and the public to ensure a fair trial.

A motion filed Thursday by lawyers for Nikolas Cruz says news coverage of pretrial hearings could instill bias among prospective jurors in the death penalty case.

They say the hearings could discuss evidence later found inadmissible at Cruz's trial.

In a motion, Broward County Public Defender Gordon Weekes and other defense lawyers said that “closure is necessary to prevent a serious and imminent threat to the administration of justice,” the Associated Press reported.

Prosecutors oppose closing the hearings.

Cruz's lawyers say he would plead guilty to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in exchange for a life prison sentence.

A status hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Cruz has pleaded not guilty.

A trial date has not been set, the AP reported.