Says confusion, right-wing posts fed “inner conflict.”
The militia leader who’s facing life in prison for masterminding the bombing of a Minnesota mosque now identifies as a woman, according to court documents. Emily Claire Hari — previously known as Michael Hari — is asking a judge to legally acknowledge her transgender identity. Hari, 50, says a combination of gender dysphoria and right-wing misinformation fueled her “inner conflict” during the time that she was convicted of bombing Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington. “She strongly desired making a full transition but knew she would be ostracized from everyone and everything she knew,” Hari’s defense attorney, Shannon Elkins, wrote in court 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. As she purchased military fatigues for their ‘missions’ she also purchased dresses and female clothing for a planned trip to Bangkok, Thailand, for male-to-female surgery. She was living a double life.” Elkins cites these as factors in asking U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank to give Hari no more than a 30-year prison sentence — the mandatory minimum for Hari’s conviction — and not the life term sought by prosecutors. She has also asked for an amended prison placement based on her transgender identity, but the details of the request are under seal. Elkins could not be reached for comment. In December, a jury found Hari, of Clarence, Ill., guilty on civil rights and hate crimes charges related to bombing the mosque. Throughout the 2 ½-week trial in St. Paul, prosecutors for Minnesota’s U.S. Attorney’s Office described Hari as a hater of Islam and immigrants who viewed both as threats to American culture. After the 2016 election of Donald Trump, Hari bid on a federal government contract to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall, which Hari viewed as a symbol of protecting American values. Hari later graduated to violent action, manipulating uneducated and financially vulnerable men from Hari’s rural community to help “harass the untouchables.” The list of targets included the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, which Hari told acolytes served as a training and recruiting ground for ISIS.