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Man to plead guilty to hiding Dylann Roof’s plan to shoot up black Charleston church

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A South Carolina man will plead guilty to federal charges he lied to investigators and concealed knowledge of his friend’s plans for a deadly mass shooting that killed nine parishioners at a Charleston church last year, court papers showed on Monday.

Joseph Meek, 21, will plead guilty to two charges, according to a plea agreement filed in federal court. He was indicted for lying to an FBI agent after his childhood friend, 22-year-old Dylann Roof, allegedly opened fire during a June 17 Bible study at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church.

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An attorney for Meek and federal prosecutors declined to comment.

Court documents show Meek has agreed to cooperate with U.S. attorneys. He could be called to testify at Roof’s trial to his knowledge of his friend’s alleged crimes.

A hearing to change his plea is scheduled for Friday in U.S. District Court in Charleston. If a judge accepts the deal, Meek would avoid a trial that was set to start in late June.

Meek faces a maximum of eight years in prison, four years of supervised release and more than $500,000 in fines on the two counts.

Roof faces 33 federal charges including hate crimes, obstruction of religion and firearms offenses. Authorities have said evidence showed he had white supremacist views and that he targeted the victims because of their race.

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Both Roof and Meek are white. The victims of the church shooting were black.

Roof’s federal trial has been delayed repeatedly while U.S. prosecutors decide whether to seek the death penalty. Defense attorneys have said Roof will plead guilty if he does not face the possibility of execution.

South Carolina prosecutors have also charged him with nine counts of murder, as well as with attempting to murder three people who survived the rampage, and he faces the death penalty.

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(Reporting by Harriet McLeod; Writing by Colleen Jenkins and Letitia Stein; Editing by Chris Reese, Cynthia Osterman and David Gregorio)


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2020 Election

The truth about Bernie Sanders’ medical records: They’re encouraging — but a key detail is missing

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When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) landed in the hospital at the beginning of October 2019 after suffering a heart attack, it became guaranteed that his health would be an issue in the 2020 Democratic primary. The 78-year-old is known for his passionate rallies and reveling in the rigors of the campaign, but a candidate's health condition can change the course of an election, and a serious medical crisis like a heart attack puts into question his ability to do the job.

To help allay these concerns, Sanders assured voters that he would release "comprehensive" medical records. But he hasn't, and now it seems he doesn't plan on doing it. Instead, he released three letters in December from doctors describing his health positively and vouching for his ability to handle the campaign trail and potentially, the presidency.

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2020 Election

How the question of who killed JFK emerged in an unexpected way on the 2020 campaign trail

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On Monday night in Fairfax, Virginia, Donald Jeffries, author and talk radio host, asked Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard about a book she was seen carrying, “JFK and the Unspeakable.” Published in 2008, the book is a Catholic philosopher’s meditation about the assassination of liberal president John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, one of the great historical crimes of American politics.

Gabbard replied she had not finished the book, but “from what I have read, it… speaks to what happened [on November 22] in a way that I haven’t seen anywhere else.”

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Trump whines about losing the Time ‘Man of the Year’ award he lost to a teenage girl

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President Donald Trump goaded his audience into booing a teenager during a campaign rally in Colorado Springs on Thursday.

Trump said, "I got beaten up by Greta" -- in reference to Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg, who recently celebrated her 17th birthday.

The leader of the free world went on to complain about Thunberg being declared TIME magazine's "Person of the Year" award in 2019.

He said that many women wish it was still "Man of the Year" and suggested separate categories by gender, which would prevent him from competing against European teenage girls.

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