Hari's trial over mosque firebombing set for fall

Hari's trial over mosque firebombing set for fall

A Ford County man accused of firebombing a mosque in Minnesota almost two years ago is now tentatively set to be tried in the fall.

In an order entered Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer said that the trial of Michael Hari, 48, of Clarence shall begin Sept. 30 at the federal courthouse in St. Paul, Minn.

It was one year ago this month that Hari and three other Clarence men were charged in connection with alleged acts of homegrown terrorism both in Minnesota and in central Illinois and Indiana.

Hari is charged with arson in connection with the Aug. 5, 2017, firebombing of the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn. Although there were people present, no one was injured.

He was charged in the Central District of Illinois with possession of a machine gun, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats and violence, attempted arson and possession of a firearm by a felon. Those charges stemmed from a number of crimes in Illinois and Indiana, including the attempted firebombing of the Women's Health Practice on South Neil Street in Champaign in November 2017.

Although unclear, it's believed that Hari will be prosecuted on the Minnesota charges before he is tried in Urbana on those filed in the Central District of Illinois.

Hari's co-defendants in the alleged hate crimes, Clarence residents Michael McWhorter, 30, Joe Morris, 23, and Ellis "E.J" Mack, 19, have pleaded guilty to various counts and are awaiting sentencing.

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