Three men from Kansas charged in the plot to kill Somali-Muslims have requested a federal judge to include people who "overwhelmingly" voted for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
Attorneys for Curtis Allen, 49, Gavin Wright, 49, and Patrick Eugene Stein, 47, claim that the court is discriminating against them by excluding individuals from counties where the president beat Hillary Clinton by more than 50 percentage points.
"A political difference between the two parties also extends to their respective ideologies regarding the appropriate size and power of the federal government and the individual rights of its citizens," the attorneys wrote in papers filed last week.
The filing continued: "The case is uniquely political because much of the anticipated evidence will centre on, and was in reaction to, the 2016 Presidential election."
The three men were charged in October 2016 with plotting to bomb a mosque and Garden City, Kansas apartment complex that housed Somali-Muslim immigrants , The Washington Post reported. Referring to themselves as "the Crusaders," the men conspired to execute their plan after the 8 November election.
According to prosecutors, the men planned to use cars to set off explosions around the complex at prayer time in the hope that the resulting "bloodbath" would ignite a religious war.
In the filing, the attorneys added: "[T]his case will require the jury to evaluate and weigh evidence regarding whether the alleged conduct constitutes the crimes charged or whether it was constitutionally protected speech, assembly and petition, and/or the right to bear arms."
At the time of their arrest, the acting US Attorney Tom Beall said they were arrested following an eight-month FBI investigation to led agents go "deep into a hidden culture of hatred and violence," the Daily Mail reported.
"The criminal complaint alleges that the men conducted surveillance, stockpiled firearms, ammunition and explosive components, and planned to issue a manifesto in conjunction with the planned bombing," Beall said.
The trial is set to begin in March 2018. Allen, Wright and Stein have pleaded not guilty, the Post reported.