Judge Won’t Close Hearings in Florida School Shooting Case

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. —A Florida judge refused Tuesday 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 rejected a motion by defendant Nikolas Cruz’s lawyers claiming that intense media coverage jeopardizes his right to a fair trial. Scherer did not elaborate on her reasons for denial, saying she would detail them in a written order later. But Dana McElroy, attorney for The Associated Press, said it was the correct decision. “It allows access to all of the hearings and filings in this case of great public concern, which is both contemplated and required by the Constitution,” McElroy said after the hearing. Several media outlets, including the AP, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, and CNN had challenged the closure motion. Cruz’s lawyers contended that open hearings might …

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