Trio planned to attack Obama HQ: prosecutors


By Michael Tarm and Tammy Webber, AP

CHICAGO–Three men accused of making Molotov cocktails had been planning to attack U.S. President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home and other targets during this weekend’s NATO summit, prosecutors said Saturday.

The three were arrested Wednesday when police raided an apartment on the city’s South Side ahead of the two-day meeting.

The arrests came as authorities tightened security throughout the city in preparation for the summit, where delegations from about 60 countries will discuss the war in Afghanistan and European missile defense.

Defense attorneys alleged that the arrests were an effort to scare the thousands of people expected to protest at the gathering of world leaders. They told a judge that undercover police were the ones who brought the Molotov cocktails.

“This is just propaganda to create a climate of fear,” defense attorney Michael Duetsch said.

Later, outside the courtroom, Duetsch said two undercover police officers or informants who called themselves “Mo” and “Gloves” were also arrested during the Wednesday raid, and defense attorneys said they later lost track of the two.

“We believe this is all a setup and entrapment to the highest degree,” Duetsch said.

The trio was charged with providing material support for terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism and possession of explosives.

The suspects were each being held on US$1.5 million bond. They apparently came to Chicago late last month to take part in May Day protests. Six others arrested Wednesday in the raid were released Friday without being charged.

Chicago police Lt. Kenneth Stoppa declined to elaborate on the case beyond confirming the charges against the three who were still in custody.

Police identified the suspects as Brian Church, 20, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Jared Chase, 24, of Keene, New Hampshire; and Brent Vincent Betterly, 24. A police spokesman gave Betterly’s hometown as Oakland Park, Massachusetts, but no such town exists. There is an Oakland Park, Florida, that is near Fort Lauderdale.