The federal trial for mass shooter Dylann Roof was set to begin today, November 7. But The State reports that U.S. district judge Richard Gergel just delayed jury selection, telling that full courtroom that an “emergency” regarding Roof had surfaced. Gergel is currently holding a closed hearing on the matter that forced the delay.
Gergel posted a issued a statement explaining the delay, which includes the following:
The closing of the hearing is necessary to protect the attorney client privilege and the defendant’s right to a fair and impartial jury and a fair trial. I fully recognize that this notice provided is short, but under the circumstances it is necessary for the court to proceed with the hearing immediately. The court intends to authorize the release of all admissible evidence and all judicial orders at the earliest possible time when such release does not jeopardize the defendant’s right to a fair and impartial jury and a fair trial that does not invade the attorney-client privilege.
Roof, 22, admitted to killing nine parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, an historically Black institution in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2016. A self-proclaimed White supremacist, Roof said that he was attempting to start a race war. He faces 33 federal hate crime and weapons charges, which could net him the death penalty if he is convicted. Roof pleaded not guilty back in July. He also faces nine counts of murder in his state trial, which is scheduled to begin on January 17, 2017.