Three men accused of plotting to bomb a Kansas mosque and apartment complex housing Somali refugees have asked a federal judge Friday to include prospective jurors from rural western Kansas because they are twice as likely to have voted for President Donald Trump.
Defense attorneys argued that failing to summon rural and conservative jurors would be discriminatory.
Gavin Wright, Patrick Stein and Curtis Allen are charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy against civil rights for allegedly planning to detonate truck bombs in the meatpacking town of Garden City on November 9, the day after the November 2016 election. The three men pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“This case is uniquely political because much of the anticipated evidence will center around, and was in reaction to, the 2016 Presidential election,” defense attorneys wrote.
According to the Associated Press, jurors will be required to weigh whether the alleged bomb plot constitutes a crime or whether it is constitutionally protected speech and assembly and the right to bear arms.
The U.S. attorney’s is currently “evaluating the motion.”
Prosecutors have argued the men formed a splinter group of the militia Kansas Security Force that came to be known as “the Crusaders.” Wright is quoted in a wiretap transcript as saying he hoped the attack would “wake people up” and inspire others to take similar action against Muslims.
Stein’s former attorney told the court in an earlier hearing that his client believed then-President Barack Obama would declare martial law and not recognize the validity of the election if Trump won, forcing militias to step in.
The trial begins March 19.