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Defense attorneys in Florida school shooting try to withdraw

Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill speaks with her client, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High...
Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill speaks with her client, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz, during a Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2022, hearing at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.(Amy Beth Bennett | AP)
Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 2:43 PM EDT
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The public defenders representing Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz tried to withdraw from his death penalty trial after the judge ordered them to move forward with jury selection even though one member of their five-member team has COVID-19.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer rejected the withdrawal motion Monday by Melisa McNeill, Cruz’s lead attorney.

The judge said she didn’t want to further delay jury selection, which has slogged on for two months.

McNeill said that decision violates Cruz’s right to a fair trial. The trial is over whether Cruz should be sentenced to death or life for the murder of 17 at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High four years ago.

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