New details emerge about accused bombers

(Provided Photo/FBI) (Provided Photo/FBI)

URBANA, Ill. (WAND)- Two of four men charged in connection with bombing a Minnesota mosque and an Illinois clinic appeared in Federal Court Wednesday, as more details emerged about the men and the accusations against them.

On Tuesday, Federal authorities announced the arrests of Michael Hari, Joe Morris, Michael McWhorter and Ellis “EJ” Mack, all of Clarence, on charges of possessing a machine gun. Federal complaints against the men suggested Hari paid Morris and McWhorter to bomb a Minnesota mosque in August 2017 and joined them in attempting to bomb the Women’s Health Practice in Champaign.

Management at Women’s Health Practice declined a request for comment Wednesday.

McWhorter made an initial appearance at the federal courthouse in Urbana Wednesday. Federal prosecutors asked that McWhorter be held until trial and said that authorities had filed charges against McWhorter in Minnesota. Prosecutors also said that McWhorter told investigators that he and some of the other men charged had melted railroad tracks near Effingham in a January 2018 incident that involved the compound thermite.

McWhorter’s attorney argued that the married father of four is unlikely to run away if not detained.

“He’s not running … he’s showing a level of cooperation (with investigators),” the attorney said. He also argued that “Hari … had some level of management control” over the other men charged.

Judge Eric Long ordered McWhorter detained until trial. The judge also appointed an attorney to represent Mack and delayed a decision about detaining him until a later hearing so Mack’s attorney could review that case.

An attorney told reporters that family members of the men who attended the hearing would not answer questions on the matter.

WAND has also learned that Hari once served as a Ford County Sheriff’s Deputy and ran for Sheriff himself. Court records show he was sentenced to probation and community service for child abduction in 2005. The federal complaint reports he is also awaiting trial in April on charges he accused another person of trespassing and held that person on the ground with an air soft gun to his head until police arrived.

Federal Court records also show a lawsuit filed in February by a Michael Hari of Clarence, Illinois against the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, arguing that the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service in competition with his business, Equicert.

“The People of the United States have rejected the Marxist doctrine that the government shall own the means of production … and it is offensive to the very notion of a free market system … that the Secretary of Agriculture is conducting a government owned business … in accordance with the tenets of Marxism,” the lawsuit’s complaint reads.

The complaint against the men also suggests they robbed Walmart stores in Illinois and broke into a home in Indiana.

Included in this story is a mug shot of Ellis Mack. WAND is in the process of obtaining mug shots for all four men, a process that is more difficult in federal cases.

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