A militia leader convicted of orchestrating the bombing of a Minnesota mosque has asked a judge to legally acknowledge her transgender identity.
Emily Claire Hari was found guilty last year of civil rights and hate crime charges related to the bombing of the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington in August 2017.
No one was injured in the attack, in which a bomb was thrown through a window, causing extensive damage. Mark Dayton, governor of Minnesota at the time, called the attack “an act of terrorism”.
According to court documents, Hari, 50 and from Clarence, Illinois, said gender dysphoria and rightwing misinformation fueled her “inner conflict” when she was convicted in the bombing.
“She strongly desired making a full transition but knew she would be ostracized from everyone and everything she knew,” Hari’s attorney, Shannon Elkins, wrote in the documents.
“Thus, as she formed a ragtag group of freedom fighters or militia men and spoke of missions to Cuba and Venezuela, Ms Hari secretly looked up ‘sex change’, ‘transgender surgery’ and ‘post-op transgender’ on the internet.”
Elkins said Hari bought military fatigues for her so-called missions but purchased female clothing for a planned trip to Thailand for male-to-female surgery, the Star Tribune reported.
Hari was living a double life, Elkins said, citing it as a factor in asking US district judge Donovan Frank to give Hari no more than the minimum 30-year prison sentence, not the life term prosecutors have requested.
Hari also asked for an amended prison placement based on her transgender identity. Details of the request are under seal.
Hari’s sentencing is scheduled for 13 September. Two Illinois men also charged in the case pleaded guilty.