Roof was also trying all he could to keep potentially embarrassing evidence about himself and his family out of court. Nobody knows what that evidence might be, but the judge and prosecutors carefully tiptoed around describing it during a hearing Wednesday.
The judge said, however, that it may be allowed during the penalty phase of the trial, which begins next week.
Roof said that he would be acting as his own attorney in the penalty phase to keep his secret a secret.
Judge Dick Gergel told Roof that being his own attorney was a bad idea.
"I'm not intending to offer any evidence or call any witnesses whatsoever," the racist Roof told Gergel.
"That's your decision," Gergel told Roof. "I think that highlights my advice to you that you aren't served by being your own counsel." He then told Roof to talk to his grandfather, who's a lawyer, and other family members one last time. He gave Roof until the start of the penalty phase Tuesday to change his mind and hire his publicly-funded, powerful defense team.
Roof will face the same jurors who convicted him on 33 counts including hate crimes and obstruction of religion. They will decide if he faces life in prison without parole or the death penalty.
The defendant spoke for a little over 9 minutes of the 35-minute hearing telling Gergel that he does plan an opening and closing statement. He told Gergel that he objects to prosecutors' plans to present a photo of evidence in the court's possession.
Roof, Gergel and assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson were careful about not saying exactly what that evidence was.
I'm thinking it's of a sexual nature.