CHARLESTON, S.C. — The white man accused of gunning down nine parishioners at a black church in Charleston wants to plead guilty to 33 federal charges, but his lawyer said in court Friday that he couldn’t advise his client to do so until prosecutors say whether they’ll seek the death penalty.

During a brief arraignment in federal court, defense attorney David Bruck said that he couldn’t counsel his client, Dylann Roof, to enter a guilty plea without knowing the government’s intentions.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant then entered a not guilty plea for Roof, 21, who faces federal charges including hate crimes, weapons charges and obstructing the practice of religion. Appearing in court in a gray striped prison jumpsuit, his hands in shackles, Roof answered yes several times in response to the judge’s questions but otherwise didn’t speak.

“Mr. Roof has told us that he wishes to plead guilty,” Bruck said. “Until we know whether the government will be seeking the death penalty, we are not able to advise Mr. Roof.”

The federal prosecution, particularly on hate crimes, has been expected since the June 17 shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Church. Early on, officials with the U.S. Department of Justice said they felt the case met the qualifications for a hate crime, and Roof was indicted by a federal grand jury about a month after the killings.

Roof appeared in photos waving Confederate flags and burning and desecrating 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.

Eighteen of the 33 charges against Roof could potentially carry the death penalty, while conviction on each of the others could mean a life prison sentence.