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Militia leader to be sentenced in Minnesota mosque bombing

This undated file photo provided by The Ford County Sheriff's Office in Paxton, Ill., shows Michael Hari, a militia leader convicted of master­minding the bombing of a Minnesota mosque. (Ford County Sheriff's Office via AP File)
This undated file photo provided by The Ford County Sheriff's Office in Paxton, Ill., shows Michael Hari, a militia leader convicted of master­minding the bombing of a Minnesota mosque. (Ford County Sheriff's Office via AP File)

The leader of an Illinois anti-government militia group who authorities say masterminded the 2017 bombing of a Minnesota mosque is to be sentenced today for several civil rights and hate crimes in an attack that terrified the local Muslim community.

Emily Claire Hari, who was previously known as Michael Hari and recently said she is transgender, faces a mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison for the attack on Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington. Defense attorneys are asking for the minimum, but prosecutors are seeking a life sentence, saying Hari hasn’t taken responsibility for the attack.

“This bomb – the Defendant’s bomb – was an act of terror intended to destroy the heart of a community,” prosecutors wrote in papers asking for a life sentence. While no one was physically hurt, prosecutors wrote, “the Defendant irrevocably destroyed the sense of safety and peace that a house of worship is supposed to provide.”

Hari was convicted in December on five counts, including damaging property because of its religious character and obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs. She did not testify at trial and it was unknown if she would make a statement at sentencing.

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