2 men tied to Minnesota mosque bombing expected to plead guilty

https://abcnews.go.com/US/men-tied-minnesota-mosque-bombing-expected-plead-guilty/story?id=60595346

Two men accused of bombing a mosque in Minnesota are expected to enter guilty pleas today.

The attack took place in August 2017 at Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota.

The blast, which investigators later connected to an improvised explosive device, went off at around 5:00 a.m. on Aug. 5, 2017. There were more than a dozen people inside the building for morning prayers but no one was injured. The building sustained some damage.

Michael McWhorter, 29, and Joe Morris, 23, are slated to appear for a change of plea hearing at U.S. District Court in Minnesota, which The Associated Press reports typically means that the defendants will plead guilty.

McWhorter and Morris are two of the four men named in a criminal complaint filed in March 2018 in connection to the mosque bombing as well as the attempted bombing of a women’s health clinic. The other two were identified as Michael Hari and Ellis Mack, and all four hail from Clarence, Illinois.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint in the case, McWhorter eventually admitted to investigators that he, Hari and Morris participated in the mosque bombing as well as the attempted bombing of the women’s health center.

PHOTO: An undated photo of Michael McWhorter. Ford County Sheriffs Office via AP
An undated photo of Michael McWhorter.

The Associated Press reports that Hari’s cases remain separate from those of McWhorter and Morris, whose cases have been combined in Minnesota.

McWhorter told investigators that the mosque bombing was not intended to kill anyone, but said that they wanted to “scare them out of the country,” referring to Muslims, and in an effort to “show them ‘hey, you’re not welcome here, get the f— out,'” according to the affidavit.

The FBI had been investigating the men based on information provided by confidential informants tying the men to the bombing and the attempted bombing, according to the complaint.