The Latest: Shooting suspect's friend pleads not guilty

AP News
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Posted: Sep 18, 2015 11:45 AM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The latest on the Charleston church shooting, including the case against a friend of the suspect (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

The friend of a white man accused of killing nine black churchgoers in Charleston has pleaded not guilty to charges of lying to authorities and concealing information about the crime.

Twenty-one-year-old Joey Meek pleaded not guilty before a federal magistrate in Columbia on Friday.

The magistrate set a bond of $100,000. It was not immediately clear if he would be able to make bail.

Meek is accused of knowing what Dylann Roof was planning June 17 in Charleston and failing to tell anyone about it. He also is accused of lying about the situation when he was questioned.

Meek answered standard questions from the judge. Several family members, including his mother and one of his brothers, sat behind him in court.

His mother would not talk with reporters after the hearing.

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11 a.m.

The man accused of lying to federal authorities and concealing information about the suspect in the Charleston church shooting faces up to eight years in prison if he is convicted on both charges.

Joey Meek was expected to appear before a federal magistrate in Columbia on Friday on charges of lying to authorities and concealing information about Dylann Roof, who is accused of killing nine people at a historic black church in Charleston June 17.

Meek faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for lying to investigators. The maximum penalty for concealing information is three years in prison.

Fines also are possible.

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10:15 a.m.

An attorney for survivors of the Charleston church shooting says his clients are grateful that federal investigators continue to pursue the case.

Andy Savage tells The Associated Press his clients are thankful that charges have been filed against Joey Meek, who was a friend of Dylann Roof, the alleged gunman.

Meek is expected in court Friday on a charge of lying to federal investigators and concealing information about a crime.

Savage said his clients hope that all those who bear responsibility for the June 17 shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston are held accountable. Nine people died in the shooting.

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9:05 a.m.

A friend of the white man accused of shooting nine black churchgoers to death now faces federal charges.

Court documents dated Tuesday and unsealed Friday say that 21-year-old Joey Meek is charged with lying to federal agents during their investigation of Dylann Roof and with concealing information.

The indictment says Meek stated to an FBI agent that he did not know specifics about Roof's plan to shoot churchgoers during Bible study, but the FBI says that was a lie.

Authorities notified Meek last month that he was under investigation. He was arrested Thursday. Meek has said Roof stayed with him in Lexington County before the June 17 shootings.

Meek previously told The Associated Press that, before the shooting, Roof drunkenly complained that "blacks were taking over the world."

Meek was expected to appear in court for arraignment at 11 a.m. Friday. It wasn't immediately clear whether he had an attorney to contact for comment on the case.

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4:15 a.m.

A friend of the alleged Charleston church shooter has been arrested and is expected to make his first court appearance.

Twenty-one-year-old Joey Meek is expected to appear in court Friday. He was arrested Thursday, more than a month after authorities told him he was under federal investigation for lying to them and failing to report a crime.

Meek's girlfriend says he's innocent. It's not clear whether he has an attorney yet.

Meek has said Dylann Roof, who's accused of killing nine black church members during Bible study on June 17, stayed with him before the shootings. Meek told The Associated Press that Roof had drunkenly complained that "blacks were taking over the world" and "someone needed to do something about it for the white race."