ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The trial of an Illinois militia leader accused of being the ringleader in the 2017 bombing of a Minnesota mosque will be postponed until April to give his defense team more time to prepare, a federal judge ruled Friday.
Michael Hari was scheduled to go to trial on multiple counts this month. But U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank decided to push it back to April 27. Defense attorneys had asked for more time to prepare, given the mountain of evidence in the case.
Prosecutors allege Hari and two others drove from Clarence, Illinois, to bomb Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, in hopes of scaring Muslims into leaving the U.S. No one was injured in the August 2017 attack.
Hari’s co-defendants have pleaded guilty. Hari is also charged in a failed bombing of a women’s clinic in Illinois.
The plea agreements portray Hari as the ringleader of a small militia group called the White Rabbits. Prosecutors say Hari picked Dar al-Farooq because it was far enough away from the White Rabbits’ central Illinois hometown that he thought they wouldn’t be suspected. He also allegedly believed it was a focal point for terror recruiting, but law enforcement hasn’t said that, and mosque leaders have never been accused of any wrongdoing.