FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — The trial for the Parkland school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz could begin in September.

Broward County Judge Elizabeth Scherer announced during a hearing on Thursday that she will be sending out orders to set specific dates for motions and jury selection.

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Cruz’ public defender told the court they haven’t been able to have any meaningful meetings with Cruz for more than a year because of the pandemic.

His lawyers have said that mental health experts they need for the trial must interview him in person, which they will not do as long as the coronavirus remains a threat in the nation’s jails. In addition, officials have raised security concerns about transporting Cruz from jail to meet with defense experts elsewhere.

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Cruz, who waived his appearance, has confessed to killing 17 people and injuring 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

Cruz was 19 at the time of the shooting. He is now 22.

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Cruz’s lawyers have repeatedly said he would plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence. But prosecutors won’t budge on seeking the death penalty at trial. Team