- Associated Press - Friday, November 13, 2015

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - A federal judge has delayed the trial for a defendant accused of not telling everything he knew about the plans of a man charged with shooting nine black parishioners at a Charleston church.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel agreed Friday to postpone the trial of 21-year-old Joey Meek until at least March. No trial date was set.

Meek’s court-appointed attorney, Deborah Barbier, told the judge she needed more time to prepare and is just now getting a chance to meet with her client. Meek, who lives in Red Bank, South Carolina, was held in solitary confinement from the time of his Sept. 17 arrest until his release last week on bond.

Prosecutors allege Meek failed to report what he knew about Dylann Roof’s plans for shooting the parishioners at Emanuel AME Church on June 17 and lied to investigators. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison for lying and up to three for concealing information.

Roof faces nine counts of murder in state court and dozens of federal charges, including hate crimes.

Gergel indicated Friday that Meek’s trial will likely be held in Charleston to make it easier for the families of the church shooting victims to attend.

Both the prosecution and defense agreed the jury could be selected statewide instead of from only the Charleston area. Prosecutor Jay Richardson said the government has no plans to combine the cases, both of which are both being heard by Gergel.

Gergel has also set a hearing for early next month to discuss the status of the Roof case.

Last month, he urged prosecutors to press for a Justice Department decision on whether the government will seek the death penalty. The state is seeking death on the murder charges against Roof in a trial set for next July.


Follow Bruce Smith at twitter.com/brucesmithAP. His work can be found at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/bruce-smith

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