Three men accused of bombing a Bloomington Islamic center will stay in Illinois until their related criminal case there is resolved, according to a joint court filing by federal prosecutors and defense attorneys on Friday.
Michael Hari, Michael McWhorter and Joseph Morris, all of Clarence, Ill., have been in federal custody since their March 13 arrests on charges filed both in Minnesota and in Illinois.
The parties on Friday agreed to ask a judge to extend the government’s deadline to bring the Minnesota case before a grand jury in pursuit of an indictment or to otherwise file a formal criminal charging document called an information.
Hari, 47, McWhorter, 29, and Morris, 22, each appeared in federal court in Illinois late last month on the Minnesota criminal complaint. Under federal rules, an indictment must be returned or an information filed within 30 days of that appearance.
But the parties’ joint-motion Friday cited the “complexity of the cases pending in each district, the distance between attorneys and their clients, and the understanding that the defendants will not be brought to Minnesota until the Central District of Illinois cases are resolved” in asking for an additional 60-day extension.
“This extension will serve the interests of the Defendants, the public, and justice,” the motion reads. “In addition, an extension will promote judicial economy.”
The three men, who allegedly formed a militia dubbed the “White Rabbits 3 Percent Illinois Patriot Freedom Fighters,” were indicted earlier this month in Illinois on a charge of possessing a machine gun. McWhorter’s 18-year-old stepson, Ellis Mack, is also charged in the Illinois indictment.
Earlier this year, a member of the White Rabbits went to law officers after seeing a cache of weapons that included explosives and modified fully automatic assault rifles stored in a safe at Hari’s office. He agreed to turn informant, and told investigators that three other White Rabbits were behind the bombing of Dar Al-Farooq and an attempted bombing of a women’s clinic in Champaign, Ill., according to federal charges. The informant said he was told by Morris that Hari had promised to pay him and McWhorter $18,000 for participating in the mosque bombing, according to the complaint.
McWhorter later told FBI counterterrorism investigators it was Hari’s idea to target the mosque. Though it is unclear why the group singled out Dar Al-Farooq, McWhorter told agents that they wanted to “scare [Muslims] out of the country ... because they push their beliefs on everyone else.” He added that they didn’t want to kill anyone but wanted to “show them hey, you’re not welcome here, get the [expletive] out.”