A secretive motion upended plans to begin jury selection in the South Carolina death penalty case against Dylann Roof, delaying the federal trial as a judge huddled behind closed doors with the self-avowed white supremacist and his legal team, reports the Charleston Post and Courier. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel met for about an hour and 40 minutes yesterday with the Emanuel AME Church shooter and his attorneys. Jury selection will resume at 9 a.m. tmorrow.
Gergel barred federal prosecutors from the closed proceeding along with the public. He did not give any details about a sealed motion he received just as jury selection was set to begin. He said he opted to close a hearing on the matter to protect attorney-client privilege and ensure Roof’s right to a fair trial. Roof, 22, is accused of gunning down nine parishioners at the historic Charleston church’s Bible study in June of last year. Authorities contend he targeted his victims because they were black. The surprise announcement from Gergel came as jury selection was about to get underway in a courtroom packed with families of the shooting victims, church members and others.