Judge’s order could unseal hundreds of documents from Dylann Roof trial

Attorneys given timeline to object

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Dylann Roof and defense attorney David Bruck seemed at odds during the trial as Roof continued to sideline his defense team's efforts to argue mental incompetence - ROBERT MANISCALCO
  • Robert Maniscalco
  • Dylann Roof and defense attorney David Bruck seemed at odds during the trial as Roof continued to sideline his defense team's efforts to argue mental incompetence
New details could soon come to light from the federal trial of Dylann Roof, the 22-year-old white supremacist sentenced to death for the shootings at Emanuel AME Church.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel issued a court order this week, proposing to unseal nearly 300 previously unreleased documents from the trial. Federal prosecutors, as well as Roof and his standby counsel have been presented a deadline by which they can propose redactions and suppression of certain documents.

More than 800 court documents were filed in Roof’s federal trial, but many remain inaccessible to the public. Roof, who served as his own attorney for the trial’s sentencing phase, voiced his concern several times regarding information that may be revealed should the findings of his competency evaluations be released.

Attorneys representing various media outlets spoke out against Judge Gergel’s decision to hold closed competency hearings before and during the trial. In response, Gergel expressed his concern that details from the hearings could influence jurors, even though they had been instructed to avoid all news of the trial.

Now, attorneys have until Jan. 30 to file objections to the judge’s order to unseal almost 200 documents. More than 100 other court records could also be released at a later date. For those documents, attorneys have until March 27 to weigh in on whether these records should be unsealed entirely, partially redacted, or remain hidden from the public eye.

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