Attorney objects to closed hearing in Charleston church shooting case

FILE - In this June 19, 2015, file photo, police tape surrounds the parking lot behind the AME Emanuel Church as FBI forensic experts work the crime scene, where nine people where shot by Dylann Storm Roof, in Charleston, S.C. After nine black parishioners were slain at a Charleston church, South Carolina did what many thought would never happen: It moved the Confederate flag off Statehouse grounds. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – A media attorney is objecting to closing a hearing on a defense request to keep some evidence out of the federal trial of Dylann Roof in the Charleston church shootings.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel has set a Sept. 1 hearing and says he intends to close it to protect Roof’s right to a fair trial.

Attorney Jay Bender, representing The Post and Courier of Charleston, has written the judge asking to be heard before any decision to close the hearing. Bender says reasonable alternatives should be considered and if the hearing is closed, reasons for doing so should be on the record.

The 22-year-old Roof is charged in the deaths of nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015. His death penalty trial is set for November.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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