Judge orders Meek trial moved to Charleston

VIDEO: Judge orders Meek trial moved to Charleston

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A federal judge has ordered the trial of the friend of the accused Charleston church shooter to be moved to Charleston.

Joseph Meek, a friend of Dylann Roof, faces jail time himself with charges of withholding information to federal investigators.

According to court documents, Meek allegedly "had knowledge of a plan by Roof 'to shoot individuals on a Wednesday, during Bible Study, at an AME church in Charleston, South Carolina,' and failed to report the planned crime and made false statements regarding his knowledge to federal investigators."

Meek was indicted for misprision of a felony and making a false statement and has pleaded not guilty to the charges, documents state.

Meek's attorneys had sought to have the trial held in Columbia. However, Judge Richard Gergel moved the trial to Charleston to make it easier for the victims' families to attend.

"It is apparent that the location of the trial of this matter will not suit everyone, making it necessary for the Court to balance the important interests of the defendant, the victims and the witnesses," the Court's ruling read. "When balancing the respective interest of the defendant, victims and witnesses, the equities tilt decidedly in favor of the intra-district transfer to Charleston. The convenience of the numerous family member victims of the nine who perished at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on June 17, 2015, is an important consideration and outweighs the convenience of the Defendant and his family members."

Court documents state "a multitude of victims in the Charleston area" have "shown a desire to attend all court hearings."

Last month, a federal judge lowered Meek's bond from $100,000 to $25,000, citing his nonviolent past and lack of hard drug use.

Meek is on probation after pleading guilty in March to possessing a stolen vehicle. His attorney said last month Meek had been in solitary confinement since his Sept. 17 arrest before his release on bond earlier this month.

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