Attorneys for three Kansas militia members who conspired to bomb a mosque and apartment complex in Garden City have asked the court to take into account what they called President Donald Trump's rhetoric encouraging violence at their sentencing next month.
One attorney also asked the judge to consider the fact that all of them read and shared Russian propaganda on their Facebook feed, which was designed to sow discord in the U.S. political system.
A federal jury convicted Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen on one count of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of conspiracy against civil rights in April. Wright was also found guilty of lying to the FBI.
The men were arrested in 2016 just weeks before prosecutors say they had hoped to carry out mass murder at the apartment complex housing Somali immigrants the day after U.S. voters elected Trump.
Prosecutors said the men, part of a militia group called the Kansas Security Force, prepared a manifesto saying their attack "would wake people up."
Wright and Allen’s attorneys previously argued that Stein, whom prosecutors called the most radical of the three, was the only one of the three interested in carrying out the plan. Prosecutors determined all three were guilty.
The case drew interest from the highest levels of the Justice Department, and politics dominated the trial. The three white men were tried by a mostly white jury.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the verdict "a significant victory against domestic terrorism and hate crimes."
"The defendants in this case acted with clear premeditation in an attempt to kill people on the basis of their religion and national origin," Sessions said in a statement in April. "That's not just illegal—it's immoral and unacceptable, and we're not going to stand for it."
Sentencing for the three men was scheduled for Friday but was delayed until Nov. 19 and 20. Prosecutors are seeking life terms for all three men.