Prosecutors detailed Michael Hari’s hatred of Muslims as the motivation for the attacks during the trial.
On Wednesday, a jury convicted the leader of an anti-government militia in Illinois on civil rights charges and hate crimes in the 2017 Minnesota mosque bombing.
Michael Day, 49, was found guilty of all five counts. These include damage to property due to their religious character, forcibly obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs, conspiracy to commit crimes with fire and explosives, the use of a destructive device in a crime of violence and possession of an unregistered destructive device.
Prosecutors described Hari’s hatred of Muslims as his motivation for the bombing during the trial, citing anti-Islam extracts from Hari’s manifesto known as The White Rabbit Handbook, named after his group. militiamen.
The number of far-right militias increased during the tenure of former President Barack Obama, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) advocacy group. The total number has declined since Trump’s election in 2016, but in 2019 the SPLC recorded 181 active militias in the United States.
Prosecutors presented evidence to jurors including phone tapes and testimony from federal investigators who located Hari in Clarence, Ill., A rural community about 190 miles south of Chicago where Hari and two co-defendants were living after a seven-month investigation.
The testimony of these co-defendants, Joe Morris and Michael McWhorter, showed that Morris considered Hari a father figure and that Hari ordered them to throw the homemade bomb in the Islamic center of Dar Al-Farooq while Hari waited in the car afterwards. to have driven. from Illinois in a rented truck.
Morris, who – along with McWhorter – pleaded guilty in January 2019 for his role in the attack, said Hari said the mosque trained ISIL fighters.
The bombing took place on August 5, 2017, when the homemade bomb exploded in the Imam’s office as worshipers gathered for morning prayers.
Nobody was injured in the explosion, although community members were shaken by the incident and the mosque’s executive director said last month that it led to a drop in attendance due to fear.
Defense attorneys argued prosecutors failed to produce forensic evidence putting Hari in the suburban Minneapolis mosque on the day of the attack and attempted to discredit Morris and McWhorter with what they said. said they were inconsistencies in their testimony. Hari refused to testify in his own defense.
Prosecutors hijacked defense claims about lack of evidence, saying Hari’s past as a former sheriff’s deputy who investigated crimes meant he knew he should not leave medical evidence. legal behind him.