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Parkland school shooter’s attorney says defense will not be ready for trial by end of year

FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2019 Nikolas Cruz appears at a hearing in Fort Lauderdale Fla. The death penalty trial of Cruz, the man charged with killing 17 people at a Florida high school is off indefinitely because of restrictions related to the coronavirus. Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer said Monday, June 22, 2020, in a hearing held remotely that it's not even clear when the courthouse will reopen to the public. It's been closed since March 16.  Cruz is charged with fatally shooting 17 people and wounding 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day 2018. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)
FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2019 Nikolas Cruz appears at a hearing in Fort Lauderdale Fla. The death penalty trial of Cruz, the man charged with killing 17 people at a Florida high school is off indefinitely because of restrictions related to the coronavirus. Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer said Monday, June 22, 2020, in a hearing held remotely that it's not even clear when the courthouse will reopen to the public. It's been closed since March 16. Cruz is charged with fatally shooting 17 people and wounding 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day 2018. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool) (© South Florida Sun Sentinel 2019)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A virtual court hearing was held Tuesday for Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz.

Cruz waived his appearance, but the prosecutor and Cruz’s public defender spoke with the judge about the case’s progress.

When the defense was asked if they would be ready to go to trial in November if jurors will be allowed back into the courthouse, the answer was no.

The defense attorney cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines during the pandemic as the reason, saying she is unable to meet with her client face-to-face as visitors are not allowed in the jail, and therefore has not had any meaningful contact with her client.

Cruz was not in the virtual hearing Tuesday nor will he be present at the next status hearing in September.

He remains in jail awaiting trial for the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that claimed the lives of 17 people.