Defense attorneys for Dylann Roof, have asked a federal judge to drop the charges filed against him, according to U.S. News & World Report. Prosecutors have until July 25th to respond. Roof’s federal trial is set to begin in November.
Roof, 22, is facing a state and federal trial, where prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the 2015 fatal shooting of nine Black people in Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Prosecutors are pursing 33 charges against him in the federal case, including hate crimes and obstructing the practice of religion.
“In court documents filed Tuesday, attorneys argue the case should be left to State authorities, saying the federal government does not have the constitutional authority to prosecute him under the Commerce Clause and the 13th Amendment which makes slavery illegal. They also argue the case violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.”
According to WCSC, Roof’s lawyer, Sarah Gannett, said the charges are “extremely grave” and “under the Constitution they are not properly charged.”
Gannett and the rest of Roof’s legal team previously stated Roof would plead guilty if all the charges were dropped.