ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) – The trial of an Illinois militia leader accused of leading the 2017 Minnesota mosque bombing will be postponed until April to give his team defense more time to prepare, a federal judge said on Friday.
Michael Hari was to be tried on several counts this month. But U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank decided to postpone it to April 27. Defense lawyers had asked for more time to prepare, given the mountain of evidence in the case.
Prosecutors allege that Hari and two others came from Clarence, Ill. To bomb the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, hoping to scare Muslims into leaving the United States. No one was injured in the August 2017 attack.
Hari’s co-defendants have pleaded guilty. Hari is also charged with the failed bombing of a women’s clinic in Illinois.
The plea deals describe Hari as the leader of a small group of militias called the White Rabbits. Prosecutors said Hari chose Dar al-Farooq because it was far enough away from the White Rabbits’ hometown in central Illinois that he didn’t think they would be suspected. He also allegedly believed it was a focal point for terrorist recruitment, but law enforcement did not say so, and mosque leaders were never charged with wrongdoing.