CHICAGO (CBS) — It is now up to a jury to decide whether three young men, dubbed the NATO 3, are would-be terrorists.
Or, as one defense attorney put it, just goofs.
Brent Betterly, Jared Chase and Brian Church were arrested in May of 2010 and charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism during the NATO Summit later that same month.
During closing arguments on Thursday, prosecutors told jurors the intent to use Molotov cocktails to commit terrorism is clear in this case, CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports.
Defense attorneys argued that undercover police officers and prosecutors saw and heard only what they wanted.
The three defendants, all in their 20s, sat calmly, with Betterly taking notes during the prosecution’s argument.
Assistant State’s Attorney Tom Biestly began with a quote from Church: “The city doesn’t know what it’s in for, and after NATO, the city will never be the same.”
Biestly said that intent to wreak havoc, to intimidate a significant proportion of the population, was behind the trio’s plan to use Molotov cocktails to set a police officer on fire.
But defense attorneys argued it was all bravado when they boasted to undercover police officers who were posing as protesters.
“Their intent was to talk,” said Church’s defense attorney, Michael Deutsch. “Their intent was to make up things, to impress these older police officers who they thought were protesters.”
Deutsch went on to insist that the two officers who had infiltrated the defendants’ circle intentionally tried to get the three to do things.
“They would lie and make up things,” he said. “They would lie all the time.”
All three defense attorneys argued the evidence does not prove this case.
“I got a beef with everybody in the case because of the evidence,” said Tom Durkin, who is Chase’s attorney. “If these people can be labeled terrorists, then we are all in trouble.”