Jury selection halted in Dylann Roof trial

Dylann Roof
FILE - This June 18, 2015, file photo, provided by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office shows Dylann Roof. A South Carolina prosecutor said Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, that she will seek the death penalty for Roof, who is charged with killing nine black churchgoers in Charleston. Roof also faces federal charges including hate crimes. Prosecutors in that case have not said if they will pursue the death penalty. (Charleston County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Jury selection stopped before it started in the federal case of a white man on trial for the fatal shooting of nine black members of a Charleston, South Carolina, church.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel opened what was supposed to be the start of jury selection in Dylann Roof’s trial Monday by saying he had received a request from defense lawyers that demanded his immediate attention.

Gergel set the hearing for 11 a.m. Monday behind closed doors and said prosecutors would not be allowed in the hearing. The judge said anyone who objected to the closed door hearing had until 10 a.m. to make that argument.

Gergel said the hearing had to do with attorney-client privilege to protect Roof’s rights to a fair and impartial trial.

Jury selection will resume Wednesday.

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