Attorneys for Nikolas Cruz want judge to hold BSO in contempt of court

Defense wants to know how state commission received Cruz's medical records

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Associated Press

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz sits in a Broward County courtroom before a hearing, Jan. 18, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz was back in court Friday morning as his lawyers were asking a judge to hold the Broward Sheriff's Office in contempt of court.

Cruz's lawyers want Broward County Judge Elizabeth Scherer to hold the BSO in contempt for improperly providing the 20-year-old's medical records to a state commission investigating the shooting.

His attorneys are arguing only certain authorized investigators and prosecutors should get access to such records in a criminal case, and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission is not included.

"In order for the Broward Sheriff's Office to obtain those records, they had to have come from the state attorney's office, who was aware of the court order and should have advised whoever they turned those records over to the Broward Sheriff's Office that the court had granted this order with the caveat that this information not be disseminated to anybody else besides the individuals listed in the order without further order of the court," defense attorney Melisa McNeill told Scherer.

An attorney for the BSO said the agency had no knowledge of how the medical records were obtained.

"This is not the Broward Sheriff's Office deflecting blame," he said. "If we did release those records, it was a mistake."

Scherer said she would consider the arguments and make her ruling by next week.

In a separate matter, Cruz's attorneys have withdrawn a motion seeking to stop Cruz from being supervised by Sgt. Raymond Beltran in jail. Cruz is accused of attacking the detention deputy in November.

Cruz faces the death penalty if convicted in the Valentine's Day shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. His lawyers have offered a guilty plea in exchange for life in prison, but prosecutors have rejected that.

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