Four of 11 counts dropped against NATO 3
BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter January 14, 2014 1:20PM
Brent Vincent Betterly (left), Jared Chase and Brian Church | Chicago Police photos
Cook County prosecutors have dismissed some arson and weapons charges against the out-of-town protesters known as the NATO 3, lawyers confirmed Tuesday.
Although no explanation was given as to why the charges were dropped, a source said the four counts were dismissed to “simplify” matters for jurors when opening statements get underway for the three men next week.
Two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, plus counts of conspiracy to commit arson and attempted arson were dismissed against Brent Betterly, Jared Chase and Brian Church before potential jurors were questioned on Monday.
The three men were arrested before the 2012 NATO summit and slapped with an 11-count indictment, which included little-used state terrorism charges for an alleged plot to attack Chicago Police officers and damage President Barack Obama’s downtown campaign headquarters and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Ravenswood home.
The defendants now only face seven counts, including providing material support for terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism.
Betterly, 25; Chase, 29; and Church, 22, also face charges of possession of an incendiary device and solicitation to commit arson.
Jury selection continued Tuesday.
Opening statements in the men’s trial before Judge Thaddeus Wilson are scheduled for Jan. 21.