News Local/State

Former Ford County Deputy Pleads Not Guilty To Minnesota Mosque Bombing Charges

Michael Hari

Michael Hari, one of the three defendants charged in connection with the 2017 bombing of a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota. Ford County Sheriff's Department

Michael Hari, who's accused of leading an attack on a mosque in suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul appeared in a Minneapolis federal courtroom Thursday. The 47-year-old former Ford County sheriff's deputy faces hate crime and explosives charges for the August 5th, 2017 bombing of the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Authorities say Hari was the leader of an anti-government militia based in Clarence, Illinois, that called itself the White Rabbit Militia.

Court documents say Hari and two other men drove more than 500 miles to attack the mosque, and had hoped to scare Muslims out of the country. Five people had gathered there for early morning prayers, but no one was hurt.

23-year-old Joe Morris and 29-year-old Michael McWhorter, also of Clarence, pleaded guilty in the case last month. They face a minimum of 35 years in prison.

Hari entered a not guilty plea at a brief hearing. All three men are being held in a Minnesota Jail.

Hari, Morris and McWhorter also face charges in Illinois, including the attempted firebombing in 2017 of a clinic in Champaign where abortions were performed. Morris and McWhorter have pled guilty to the Illinois charges.