Lawyer Tamara Curtis being investigated over middle finger

Lawyer Tamara Curtis being investigated over middle finger

A lawyer for Parkland massacre killer Nikolas Cruz who appeared to raise her middle finger to cameras during the sentencing phase of his trial is being investigated by the Florida State Bar Association.

Footage of the incident shows public defender Tamara Curtis annoyedly noting a cameraman pointing a lens in her direction before the start of a court session.

She then appears to confer with Cruz and another member of her team at the defense table, before waving at the camera and raising her finger while scratching the side of her face.

The childish move drew a rare chuckle from Cruz, who was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for slaughtering 14 kids and three teachers in one of the worst mass shootings in American history.

Nikolas Cruz's attorney Tamara Curtis raises her middle finger towards a camera in court.
Attorney Tamra Curtis raised her middle finger at a camera during Nikolas Cruz’s sentencing trial.
Law&Crime Network
Curtis shares a laugh with Parkland killer Nikolas Cruz.
Curtis and Cruz laugh after the attorney raised her middle finger in court.
Law&Crime Network

Several relatives of those killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School denounced her behavior — and said Cruz’s defense team failed to show them minimal “humanity” over the course of his sentencing trial.

Parent Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was shot dead in the attack, angrily noted the gesture after Cruz was formally sentenced Wednesday, calling Curtis an “immature punk child.”

“I will never ever ever forgive that moment,” Guttenberg said. “But that’s who they were.”

Other speakers who addressed the court before Cruz’s sentencing expressed disdain for Cruz’s attorneys — who at one point complained to the judge that the victims’ families appeared to be inciting violence against them.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer
Judge Elizabeth Scherer
Getty Images

Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin was fatally shot, called Curtis the “middle finger lady” Wednesday.

Although Curtis wasn’t present for Wednesday’s proceeding, Oliver made the same obscene gesture to the defense table.

“What about our children?,” Oliver said in response to the defense’s safety concerns.

Oliver warned Cruz’s lawyers that their seeming lack of brevity during a trial over 17 deaths would bring public revulsion.

“A lot of people will hate all of you,” he said, jabbing a finger in their direction. “They’ve seen your faces. You can complain about what I’m saying right now. I don’t care.”

A jury opted against giving Cruz the death penalty at his sentencing trial last month, citing “underlying factors” such as him being affected by fetal alcohol syndrome and having a tough upbringing.

Curtis, who received her law degree from Ohio State University, has been practicing since 2004 and has no prior disciplinary history. The bar association declined to say what its investigation is about, and whether her conduct during the trial would be called into question.

Curtis did not immediately return a request for comment.

Source link