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‘NATO 3’ protesters indicted on 11 counts

Brent Vincent Betterly (left) Jared Chase Brian Church  |  Chicago Police photos

Brent Vincent Betterly (left), Jared Chase and Brian Church | Chicago Police photos

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Updated: January 21, 2014 2:02PM

A Cook County grand jury has returned an 11-count indictment against the so-called “NATO 3” activists accused of plotting to attack President Barack Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home with Molotov cocktails during the international summit last month.

Brian Church, 20, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Jared Chase, 28, of Keene, N.H., and Brent Vincent Betterly, 24 of Oakland Park, Fla., were indicted last week.

The men will not be brought before a judge on the formal charges until July 2.

The trio are indicted on providing material support for terrorism; conspiracy to commit terrorism; four counts of possession of an incendiary device; conspiracy to commit arson; solicitation to commit arson; attempted arson and two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon for the quarter of an ounce bottle of explosive substance they possibly intended to use for “black powder bombs and Molotov cocktails or artillery projectiles,” the indictment said.

No additional details were provided in the 12-page indictment.

Church, Chase and Betterly, who remain in jail, also planned to firebomb police stations and squad cars, declaring that, after the NATO Summit, “the city will never be the same,” police and prosecutors said.

The men’s attorneys have said the charges are trumped up and accused law enforcement officials of entrapping their clients by using undercover officers who posed as activists.

The case is unusual in that state charges, rather than federal charges, were filed in a terrorism-related case. Federal prosecutors have taken the lead in the majority of terrorism cases nationwide since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. This is the first time Illinois has invoked anti-terrorism laws adopted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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