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Defense attorneys seek before, after video of Nikolas Cruz’s attack on deputy

Prosecutor calls defense team’s claims of missing video ‘delay tactic’ in Parkland school shooter’s upcoming battery trial

Nikolas Cruz stares into the camera during a hearing at the Broward County courthouse, Jan. 13, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Nikolas Cruz stares into the camera during a hearing at the Broward County courthouse, Jan. 13, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (WPLG)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz was back in court Monday as defense attorneys sought a continuance in his upcoming trial related to a November 2018 attack on a Broward Sheriff’s Office detention deputy.

Cruz is charged with battery on a law enforcement officer after deputies said he attacked Sgt. Raymond Beltran in the dayroom area.

Deputies said he rushed at Beltran, punched him in the face and took his stun gun during the Nov. 13, 2018, scuffle.

Defense attorney Joseph Burke told Broward County Elizabeth Scherer he intends to file a motion regarding the whereabouts of surveillance video that shows what occurred before and after the attack. He said the BSO hasn’t been able to provide the video, which could reveal what prompted Cruz to attack Beltran.

However, the prosecutor objected, calling it a “delay tactic” and claiming it was the first she’s heard of the issue in a case that has been pending since 2018.

Assistant public defender Melisa McNeill (far left) and a prosecutor (far right) listen as defense attorney Joseph Burke speaks to Broward County Judge Elizabeth Scherer regarding the status of Nikolas Cruz's battery trial, Jan. 13, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Assistant public defender Melisa McNeill (far left) and a prosecutor (far right) listen as defense attorney Joseph Burke speaks to Broward County Judge Elizabeth Scherer regarding the status of Nikolas Cruz's battery trial, Jan. 13, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (WPLG)

“I don’t know that there’s any relevance to what happened before,” she said. “If it was destroyed, then I can tell you that it would have been inadvertent. I had nothing to do with it. My office had nothing to do with it.”

Jury selection in Cruz’s murder trial was scheduled to begin at the end of the month, but the trial was delayed to allow defense attorneys more time to prepare.

Cruz has been in jail since his arrest after the Valentine’s Day 2018 mass shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Scherer said she would set aside time before the start of the trial, scheduled for Jan. 27, to discuss the matter.