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1 of 3 Illinois men accused in mosque bombing negotiating plea deal

An attorney for one of three Illinois militia members accused of bombing a Minnesota mosque says his client, Michael James McWhorter, is negotiating a possible plea deal with federal prosecutors.

An attorney for one of three Illinois militia members accused of bombing a Minnesota mosque says his client, Michael James McWhorter, is negotiating a possible plea deal with federal prosecutors. | Star Tribune via AP file photo

ST. PAUL, Minn. — An attorney for one of three Illinois militia members accused of bombing a Minnesota mosque says his client is negotiating a possible plea deal with federal prosecutors.

Michael James McWhorter pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal hate crime charges, but the Star Tribune reports his attorney told a federal magistrate that McWhorter was working on a possible deal.

According to court documents, McWhorter admitted he, Michael Hari and Joe Morris drove from Clarence, Illinois, in August 2017 and attacked Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center. McWhorter allegedly said the men did it to scare Muslims from the country.

McWhorter also allegedly admitted the men attempted to bomb an Illinois women’s clinic. Federal charges were filed in both states. McWhorter’s and Morris’ cases have been combined in Minnesota, while Hari’s cases remain separate. Hari is still in federal custody in Illinois.