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Judge delays sentencing of MLK Day bomber

SPOKANE, Wash. - Attorneys for a Northwest white supremacist accused of planting a bomb along a parade route have won more time to look into federal hate crimes law. Accused would-be bomber Kevin Harpham had been scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday. But a federal judge in Spokane postponed the decision for another three weeks.

Thirty-seven-year-old Kevin Harpham is accused of planting a homemade bomb in a backpack in downtown Spokane last Martin Luther King Day.

One of the charges he faces is a federal hate crime for attempt to "cause bodily injury" with what's defined in the law as "an explosive bomb or similar device." Harpham's defense asked for more time to explore whether the device Harpham created meets that definition. His attorneys will spend the next three weeks trying to answer that question.

Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys reached a plea deal in September. It offers a sentencing range of 27 to 32 years in prison, plus lifetime court supervision. Newly unsealed court documents indicate Harpham was in contact with a network of white supremacists. Prosecutors submitted copies of letters he exchanged with former KKK leader Glenn Milller while Harpham was in the Spokane County jail..

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping places east of the Cascades.