Parkland shooter’s brother says he pulled out of testifying due to ‘harassment,’ plans to sue county

Prosecutors say claims have no merit

"Statement from Zachary Cruz" (Instagram)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The brother of the Parkland school shooter pulled out of voluntarily testifying in his brother’s defense in his ongoing death penalty trial owing to “years of harassment” by Broward County and intends to sue the county, he said in a social media post.

In the post, on Zachary Cruz’s “Being Zach Cruz” social media pages, Nikolas Cruz’s brother said the harassment “only got worse after (he) moved to Virginia.”

“Broward prosecutors partnered with a racist Virginia Sheriff and a corrupt prosecutor to attempt to arrest me, search my home, and subject me to a conservatorship,” Zachary Cruz wrote. “They attacked my new family for helping me and communicated threats to me through a CI (criminal informant). Broward’s ultimate goal seems to be to hide the systemic failures that led to my brother not getting the help or inpatient services he needed.”

Cruz said he also decided to not testify after learning from his attorney that “yet another defense witness has claimed witness tampering by prosecutor Jeff Marcus.”

“I am not surprised, and I no longer believe that it’s worth the harassment and abuse when the Judge obviously doesn’t care,” Cruz said. “She made that clear when I raised the witness tampering issue, and the defense team indicated it wasn’t their fight. Jeff Marcus will continue to tamper with witnesses until the Court forces him to stop.”

Cruz wrote that he is “not interested in being a scapegoat for (his) brother or Broward County,” saying he ran away from home because it was “crazy and dangerous there.”

“I love my brother, though I hate what he did. There is no excuse for what he did, only questions about why it was permitted to happen, and we all deserve to have those answers,” Cruz said. “The families deserve closure. My brother needs a fair trial. This circus of a trial isn’t accomplishing either.”

He then outlined his plan for legal action against the county.

“Once my brother’s case is over, I have instructed my attorneys to file a lawsuit against Broward County seeking restitution for the damages I’ve suffered, but far more importantly for injunctive relief that will hopefully make it harder for Broward County to bully people,” Cruz wrote.

Related stories: Parkland school shooter’s defense claims alleged misconduct is basis to ‘prohibit’ death penalty, Attorney reacts to accusation during Parkland school shooter’s trial

Local 10 News reached out to the Broward County State Attorney’s Office for comment.

A spokesperson said “there is no merit to any of the allegations Zachary Cruz made on Instagram. There is nothing wrong with an attorney from either side contacting a witness and any contact prosecutors made with Zachary Cruz was made through his lawyers, the prosecution team said. Prosecutors said they never spoke with Zachary Cruz without his lawyer being present.”

Zachary Cruz deposition:

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About the Authors:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.

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."