UPDATED: Monday, November 7, 5:00 P.M. EST
Jury selection for Dylann Roof’s trial will resume on Wednesday at 9 a.m. EST, according to The Post and Courier. On Monday afternoon, news broke that U.S. District Judge George Gergel decided to delay the process after Roof and his attorneys presented a series of motions behind closed doors.
Many objected to the secret meeting, saying transparency is crucial for a fair and thorough trial. Gergel agreed, after previously declining to comment on the matter.
“This is the people’s courthouse, and this is the people’s business,” he said according to The Post and Courier.
The outlet reports jury selection could take up to two weeks, which could push the duration of the trial to last throughout the holiday.
SOURCE: The Post and Courier
Dylann Roof Trial: Federal Judge Indefinitely Delays Jury Selection
Roof is accused of murdering nine Black parishioners during bible study at Emanuel AME church on June 17, 2015. He faces 33 federal charges, including hate crimes and violating religious freedoms.
According to the periodical, U.S. District Judge George Gergel met with the group for nearly an hour and 40 minutes to discuss a motion presented Sunday, and two filings submitted Monday by Roof’s legal team. Federal prosecutors were barred access to the meeting, the outlet reports.
Due to Election Day on Tuesday, jury selection could possibly begin on Wednesday.
According to the Courier’s report, Gergel made the announcement to the packed courtroom minutes before selection was scheduled to start.
Gergel declined to comment to the news outlet about the meeting as he left the courtroom, but said he intended to give Roof access to a fair trial. His spokesperson told The Post and Courier that transcripts from today’s hearing would remain sealed, but would work to ensure transparency and release them in the future.
The Post and Courier writes:
Jay Bender, an open records law expert who also serves at The Post and Courier’s attorney, said Gergel can close the hearing if the subject matter goes directly to matters of privilege between Roof and his legal team. But Bender said such decisions should not be taken lightly, and Roof’s rights must be balanced with the public’s right to see how justice is meted out in the judicial system.
SOURCE: The Post and Courier | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty