A prosecutor said in closing arguments in Cook County Circuit
Court that the so-called "NATO 3" were bent on mayhem. Defense
attorneys described the three as drunken braggarts who had talked
big to impress undercover officers.
The men are accused of planning attacks during the Chicago meeting
of North Atlantic Treaty Organization officials using firebombs,
targeting police stations and President Barack Obama's re-election
headquarters, along with other locations.
"While Chicago was on the world stage, their plan was to light a
police officer on fire," Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Tom
Biesty told jurors. "By attacking the police they planned to attack
But Thomas Durkin, attorney for defendant Jared Chase, described the
three as "goofs" who "can't even agree on what to have for
"If these people can be labeled terrorists, we're all in trouble,"
he told jurors before they began deliberations.
The trio — Brian Jacob Church, 22, and Brent Betterly, 25, both of
Florida, and Chase, 29, of New Hampshire — are charged with
conspiracy to commit terrorism under a state anti-terrorism law
adopted after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Thaddeus Wilson late on Thursday
evening dismissed the 12-member jury, which had not reached a
decision after about three hours of deliberations. The group was to
return on Friday morning at 9 a.m. local time.
The case marks the first time Illinois prosecutors had invoked the
conspiracy charge. The three men could face decades in prison if convicted.
[to top of second column]
Church's attorney, Michael Deutsch, told jurors the case hinged on
whether the men intended to intimidate a significant portion of the
civilian population, and said his client had done nothing but talk.
"Their intent was to impress these older undercover officers," he
Prosecutors have painted the men as anarchists bent on causing
mayhem, offering testimony from 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 have 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.
(Editing by David Bailey, Sharon Bernstein, Eric M. Johnson,
Mohammad Zargham, Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Shumaker)
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