COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – The same judge will oversee the federal cases against both the white man charged with killing nine black churchgoers and his friend who is accused of lying to authorities.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel was assigned late last week to hear the case against 21-year-old Joey Meek, according to court records.
Meek has pleaded not guilty to lying to law enforcement agents and failing to report what he knew about Roof’s plot. According to an indictment, Meek knew Roof planned to shoot black church members during Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal, didn’t report it and lied to authorities.
Meek hung out with Roof sporadically in the weeks before the June 17 shooting. A day after the shooting, Meek told The Associated Press Roof had drunkenly complained that “blacks were taking over the world” and “someone needed to do something about it for the white race.”
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Meek, of Lexington, also said he took a handgun away from Roof the night of his drunken rant but gave it back when he had sobered up.
Last week, Meek’s attorneys and federal prosecutors filed motions seeking each other’s evidence in the case.
Roof, 21, faces possible death sentences in the state and federal systems, and an attorney meeting in his federal case is scheduled for Thursday. On Monday, online court records showed that Gergel had issued an order in that case, although it was sealed.
Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP