Public Defender Reflects on Trial, Threats Since Parkland Killer's Sentencing

Gordon Weekes’ office came under heavy scrutiny from the families of the Parkland victims during the course of the trial.

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The Broward County public defender who was tasked with defending the Parkland killer sat down in an interview with NBC 6 Tuesday.

Gordon Weekes’ office argued before a jury why the killer deserved life in prison rather than the death penalty.

“Sometimes we may represent folks that are somewhat unsavory,” Weekes said.

Since the trial, Weekes said his office has become a lightning rod for threatening messages. He said they’ve received the threats via email, voicemail, social media posts, written communications, and more.

“I hope all you guys have to bury your children,” said a caller in a voicemail.

“… I hope you suffer a violent and short future. Wonder if anyone will care. Doubt it. Rest in hell,” someone wrote on social media.

Weekes’ office came under heavy scrutiny from the families of the Parkland victims during the course of the trial.

Public defender Tamara Curtis was caught on camera sticking up her middle finger in court before the trial started and as news cameras were being tested. The matter is being investigated by the Florida Bar.

“I am deeply sorry for the fact that the incident occurred with the finger,” Weekes said. “That was an incredible distraction. But the mischaracterization of that to suggest that that was directed to the court, when we all know that it was not, sent a message to the community that the behavior in court was condoned. And that folks should act upon those calls of karma.”

Tensions in the courtroom boiled over when Weekes’ office raised concerns about victim impact statements inciting violence against the defense.

It prompted an exchange between Weekes and Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer.

“Go sit down,” said the judge during the exchange in trial.

“No one in this courtroom had to endure what we had to endure,” Weekes said in response.

Weekes reflected on those comments in Tuesday’s interview.

“That was not communicated effectively and for that, I am deeply sorry for the pain that that caused families that interpreted it differently,” he said.

Tony Montalto, the father of Parkland victim Gina Montalto, offered a response to Weekes’ Tuesday apology. 

“Yet again, we have Mr. Weekes showing that he forgets what a victim is. My beautiful daughter pictured behind me. She's a victim. We are two days away from having our fifth Thanksgiving without her at our table, while Mr. Weekes, the entire defense team, and all those jurors are able to hug and love their loved ones,” he said.

Weekes’ office is requesting to no longer have Judge Scherer preside over its criminal cases. The judge's office did not respond to NBC 6's requests for comment as of Tuesday night.

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