“We all wasted a lot of money on the war on terror, because if these guys are terrorists, we’ve got nothing to worry about.” – Thomas Durkin, Jared Chase’s defense attorney
Our apologies to the NATO 3 and the NATO 3 defense committee for not getting an update out to our listeners concerning Friday’s follow-up hearing in the trial of Jared Chase, Brent Betterly, and Jacob Church. In all the shuffle and discussion over the ISAT situation on last Saturday’s show that, we forgot to give an update on the air.
On February 28th, Judge Thadeus Wilson set the tentative sentencing and post-trial motions date of April 25th. In addition, the defense team filed a motion for acquittal based on the evidence presented earlier in the trial. We’ll keep our fingers crossed but won’t hold our breath, seeing as Judge Wilson rejected an earlier bid to toss-out the terrorism counts brought by States Attorney Anita Alvarez via a little-used terrorism statute. Lest we forget that Alvarez has a long track record of defending police misconduct.
The verdict was reached back on February 8th when, after 8 hours of deliberation, the jury acquitted the 3 men of providing material support for terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism. They did, however, convict them of two counts of misdemeanor mob action and two felony counts for possessing an incendiary device. The last conviction is odd because the recordings by undercover police officers indicate quite clearly that the officers prodded the three activists through the entire process of making Molotov cocktails from conception to semi-completion.
As we discussed with local journalist Chris Geovanis on our show earlier in February, it was very telling that the Federal Government had little to do with this otherwise high profile terrorism case. This implies that there was a concern about the strength of the case that warranted avoidance of giving the defense a national stage to point out some very un-constitutional activity and possible entrapment, carried out by the police infiltrators.
We obviously feel that the conviction is excessive, and the cost of the entire NATO legacy, not only to the three activists but also the city and the state, is terrible. Please consider donating to help with their legal costs and commissary needs. You can also write letters and send them books and postcards. To find out how, visit http://freethenato3.wordpress.com/contact/. You can also check that site out for updates as they come along.
For more information about the trial and what the activist community in Chicago is doing to help, check out our interview with a member of the NATO 3 defense committee: