Closing arguments are expected on Thursday in the Chicago criminal
trial of the so-called NATO 3 defendants — Brian Jacob Church, 22,
and Brent Betterly, 25, both of Florida, and Jared Chase, 29, of New
All three were charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism under a
state anti-terrorism law adopted after the September 11, 2001,
attacks and invoked for the first time. They face up to 175 years in
prison if convicted on all counts.
The men are accused of planning attacks using firebombs during the
NATO summit in May 2012, targeting Chicago police stations and
President Barack Obama's re-election headquarters, along with other
locations. They have pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors have painted the men as anarchists bent on causing
mayhem, offering testimony from two undercover Chicago police
officers to show that the defendants were "ready for war."
Chicago police, along with the FBI and the Secret Service, raided
their safe house, an apartment on Chicago's South Side, and
recovered pipe bomb instructions, an improvised mortar made from PVC
piping, a crossbow, knives, throwing stars, a map of Chicago and
four firebombs, prosecutors said.
Defense attorneys said the men were more focused on getting high
than being violent. They said the defendants were egged on by
undercover officers, and the charges were politically motivated to
justify the millions of dollars spent on security for the summit.
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Evidence at the trial included a recording in which Church said he
might use a big slingshot to break a window at Obama's headquarters,
but that he could not figure out where the offices were, according
to media accounts.
"They were too drunk to even go out and recon the place," Sarah
Gelsomino, who represents Church, told jurors at the start of the
trial last month.
(Editing by David Bailey, Sharon Bernstein and Mohammad Zargham)
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