MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The trial for an Illinois man accused in the 2017 bombing of a Bloomington mosque has been postponed after someone involved in the case tested positive for COVID-19.
The United States District Court of Minnesota announced Monday that the trial for Michael Hari will be delayed until Nov. 30 due to a COVID-19 exposure of a juror or another individual involved in the case.
Hari, 39, is charged with bombing the Dar al-Farooq mosque on Aug. 5, 2017. Prosecutors say he was the leader of an anti-government group and was the mastermind behind the attack, which damaged the mosque but left no one hurt.
Hari has pleaded not guilty to several civil rights and hate crimes. Last week, his attorney argued in court that no meaningful evidence ties Hari to the bombing.
Meanwhile, his co-defendants, who testified against him, said that Hari planned the attack just before morning prayers. One of the co-defendants who pleaded guilty in the attack, Michael McWhorter, told the court he was afraid to disobey Hari for fear that he might be shot.
Hari’s trial began on Nov. 9. In the last few weeks, COVID-19 cases have surged in Minnesota, with daily cases, deaths, and hospitalizations reaching record levels.
Earlier this month, the United States District Court in Minnesota suspended criminal and jury trials that haven’t already commenced until next year due to pandemic concerns.