Parkland shooter’s brother, brother’s friend ask court not to force them to answer some questions by state

Duo claims some of state’s questions are irrelevant to case

From left: Zachary Cruz and Richard Moore. (WPLG)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The brother of the Parkland school shooter and his roommate have filed a motion, requesting that the court does not force them to answer certain questions asked from them by the state.

Zachary Cruz and Richard Moore, who are both defense witnesses, filed the motion this week.

Moore showed up to a court hearing for Nikolas Cruz earlier this year and told reporters he traveled to Broward from his home in Virginia to be there for the school shooter.

“I am here because Zach moved in with my family after the shooting and nobody should face this alone,” he said.

In their motion, they expressed some frustration with the state’s deposition, stating that they believe some questions are not appropriate.

According to the motion, “the majority of the information the State seeks, touches intimately on the home, marital, and family life of the Deponents. The information further is tied to perceived political activities, political views, and membership or participation in certain protest movements and activist groups.”

Cruz and Moore stated that prosecutors have not given a reason for why this kind of information is relevant to the case, and stated that the majority of information the state is seeking disclosure on is information that the state has already admitted it has.

The motion is expected to be discussed sometime Thursday afternoon.

“Under Florida’s rules of criminal procedure, the state is entitled to depose any witness who is listed by the defense,” legal analyst David Weinstein said. “These depositions are used to find out what a witness would testify about and explore the background and motivation of the witnesses to testify.

“They can only be used during a trial to impeach the witness and not instead of their testimony.”

Weinstein said Cruz and Moore’s attorneys objected to questions that were asked during their depositions and told their clients not to answer those questions.

“In Florida, that is not the proper procedure,” Weinstein said. “The proper procedure is to object and then let the witnesses answer the questions. The judge will then later rule on whether the question and answer were proper.

“In addition, the objection raised by their lawyer was relevance, not privilege or that the questions were harassment. Relevance is not a proper objection during a deposition.”

Weinstein said the defense also mischaracterized what the state is seeking to compel.

“Instead, they spend pages setting forth mitigation arguments that the defendant will be presenting and try to obscure the fact that both Zachary Cruz and Richard Moore have pending federal charges,” he said. “The fact that those charges are of public record doesn’t mean that the state can’t ask about them and the circumstances surrounding them during their depositions.”

Weinstein expects the judge to rule in favor of the state.

READ THE FULL MOTION BELOW:


About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."