Parkland Father Fred Guttenberg Attacks Nikolas Cruz’s Defense Attorney [adjective] compared to the Pelosi attack

The father of a Parkland shooting victim has called for the resignation of his public defender after a heated court hearing.

Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter was killed in the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School, said he initially did not plan to give a victim impact statement during Nikolas Cruz’s sentencing. But he said Wednesday that a confrontation between the defense and Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer changed his mind.

During the first day of sentencing Tuesday, public defender Gordon Weeks asked the judge to intervene in impact statements in light of the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi. Mr Weekes claimed the children had been referred to the defense team, which the judge said he was not aware of.

Judge Scherer closed Mr Weeke’s remarks, saying the victims’ families had kept their cool and made acceptable comments for the most part. Another member of the defense then pressed on the allegations and told Ms Scherer she would have noticed if the victim had brought up her children, prompting the judge to accuse Mr Weekes of “behaving inappropriately and being out of line”. .

“Yesterday, the elected public defender said no one should have to endure what this defense has endured,” Jennifer Guttenberg, Jaime Guttenberg’s mother, said Wednesday before Cruz was sentenced to 34 consecutive life sentences. “And as a reminder, Mr. Weekes, and the rest of the defense attorneys, your client murdered our loved ones in cold blood. He chased them, shot them again and again until he knew he had achieved his goal.”

Mr. Guttenberg then asked for Mr. Weekes’ resignation. Mr Weekes’ comments came after his team was rebuked by the victims’ parents on Tuesday over an earlier case in which lawyer Tamara Curtis appeared to flash her middle finger at the camera as she laughed with Cruz and another member of the defense .

“To suggest for one second that we would be the kind of people or anyone else back there would be the kinds of people who would incite violence, you should all be ashamed of yourselves,” Mr Guttenberg continued.

Joaquin Oliver victim’s sister, Andrea Ghersi, declined to address Cruz during her victim impact statement, but attacked the defense after the events Tuesday.

“I will not allow any of you to make us the kind of people who resort to any kind of threats, especially threats to children,” Ms Ghersi said.

Fred Guttenberg then asked for the resignation of public defender Gordon Weekes

(WPLG/Screengrab)

He continued: “No one in this courtroom has had to go through what we have had to go through,” a statement from Gordon Weekes. What exactly did you have to go through? Have you had to sit here for the past few months and hear from medical experts how many shots your loved one received?’

“How much they suffered when their killer was chasing them. Are you that out of touch?’

The families’ statements came after a heated exchange between the defense and the presiding judge on Tuesday.

“I did my job and every member of this team did our job, and we shouldn’t be attacked for that personally, and neither should our children,” lead defense attorney Melisa McNeill said.

Chief Assistant State’s Attorney David Wheeler later disputed those claims, saying family members of the victims raised the defense’s children, while Judge Scherer said she had not recorded those remarks and did not know what she was talking about.

“When these people are upset about specific things that have happened from this table, like shooting the middle finger at this court and laughing and joking, Ms. McNeill,” Judge Scherer said. “When those people sit in that courtroom and they watched that behavior from that table and they want to say they’re not happy about it, what’s the problem?”

Mr Wheeler continued his claims, saying: “Critic, I can assure you that if they were talking about your children, you would definitely notice.”

Judge Elizabeth Scherer orders Chief Assistant Public Defender David Wheeler to sit in the back of the courtroom

(© South Florida Sun Sentinel 2022)

Judge Scherer then demanded Mr. Wheeler from the defense table, saying he was out of line.

“Trying to threaten my children and raise my children is inappropriate, now go to the back of the room. This was simply in breach of every rule of professional responsibility,” Scherer also told Mr Weekes. “Go sit down. We continue with the sentencing.”

Cruz was formally sentenced to life in prison for the mass murder of 17 students and staff members. Ms Scherer sentenced the 24-year-old on Wednesday, at the end of two days of heartbreaking statements from victims and their families outraged that the killer of their loved ones avoided the death penalty for his crimes.

Judge Scherer said she visited the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus, and although there was tragedy and sadness, the community remained thriving because of her strength. He praised the loved ones of the victims and survivors for their support throughout their unimaginable loss and thanked them for their composure during the emotional four months of the trial.

“I know this doesn’t help at all and if I could take your pain or carry your pain for you, just for five minutes so you could breathe, I would,” Ms Scherer said. “Because I can’t even imagine what you’re going through today.”

Cruz was sentenced to 17 life terms without the possibility of parole and another 17 life terms with the possibility of parole after serving 20 years. The 34 terms are to be served consecutively, Judge Scherer ruled.

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