Suspect in Charleston church shooting Dylann Roof pleads not guilty in federal court

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WABC) -- Dylann Roof pleaded not guilty Friday to 33 federal hate crime charges in the deadly South Carolina church shooting.

Roof was in federal court in Charleston to face dozens of federal charges, including hate crimes and obstructing the practice of religion. He was represented by David Bruck, who was on the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev defense team, and Michael McConnell.

Twenty-one-year-old Dylann Roof's hearing was originally set for July 27 and was rescheduled to allow more time to prepare.

The prosecution, particularly on hate crimes, has been expected since the June 17 shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Church.

Roof is white and appeared in photos waving Confederate flags and burning U.S. flags. Federal authorities have confirmed his use of a personal manuscript in which he decried integration and used racial slurs to refer to blacks.

Roof faces 33 federal charges and is charged with numerous state crimes. Prosecutors haven't said if they'll seek the death penalty.

His attorneys told a federal judge he is prepared to plead guilty to the federal hate crimes, but defense attorneys wouldn't submit that plea until the Department of Justice decides whether to seek the death penalty.

"He wishes to plead guilty," said Bruck during Roof's arraignment.

The federal prosecution will take a backseat to the state prosecution of Roof on South Carolina murder charges which is moving ahead.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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