CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – A judge has detailed part of his rationale behind closing a hearing Monday in the federal death penalty trial of a white man charged with fatally shooting nine black church members in Charleston.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said in the six-page memo filed in court that coverage of Dylann Roof’s trial has been so widespread and that the matters discussed in the closed hearing could harm his right to a fair trial if any jurors overheard the information. Some sections of the memo were blacked out.
Gergel closed the 90-minute hearing over the objection of media organizations, which requested that a redacted transcript of it be made available. Gergel hasn’t if or when that will be available.
Jury selection is set to resume Wednesday in Roof’s trial on 33 federal counts. It was called off Monday when Roof’s defense team requested the private hearing.
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