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Lawyers for Parkland school shooting suspect fight to keep jail records private

Posted at 5:22 AM, Nov 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-27 19:40:07-05

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The suspect in the South Florida school shooting that left 17 dead back in February was in court Tuesday afternoon.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: More coverage of the Parkland shooting |3 assistant principals, security specialist reassigned at Stoneman Douglas HS | Cruz accused of attacking officer inside jail

Nikolas Cruz, 20, stayed silent and kept his head down for most of the hearing, which focused on motions related to cellphone and electronic evidence, witness statements, social media accounts, crime scene logs, and a 2017 tip to the FBI in which a user name "Nikolas Cruz" posted a comment on a YouTube video. That comment read "Im going to be a professional school shooter".

Defense lawyers also asked a judge to keep jail records about Cruz's mental condition private.

Attorneys for Cruz said that the Broward County jail records are similar to medical records that must stay sealed to protect his privacy. They are from daily observation reports done by corrections officers because Cruz is on suicide watch and listed as having an "altered mental state."

Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer did not immediately rule on the request. The Sheriff's Office said the reports are not done by medical professionals and are not the same as medical records.

Cruz faces the death penalty if convicted of the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people and wounded 17 others. His lawyers say he would plead guilty in exchange for a life prison sentence.

No trial date has been set.

Cruz is also charged with assaulting a corrections officer in the jail where he is being held without bail.

On Tuesday, a judge set another status hearing for Jan. 8.

WPTV contributed to this report.