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Terror Suspects Claim 'Entrapment To The Highest Degree' By Undercover Cops

By Samantha Abernethy in News on May 21, 2012 6:00PM

Brent Betterly, Brian Church and Jared Chase have been charged in an alleged NATO summit terror plot. CPD photos.

Attorneys for the NATO 3 accused of creating Molotov cocktails and planning attacks across Chicago say it was the undercover police officers who brought the firebombs to their apartment, and the charges against them are the result of "entrapment to the highest degree."

"It is sensationalism by the police and the state to discredit the protesters that have come here to nonviolently protest," said defense attorney Michael Deutsch. He went on to say there were two police informants who infiltrated the group and "we believe they’re the ones who provoked this and they’re the ones who had the illegal activity and the illegal materials." Watch Deutsch's comments in the videos below.

The undercover officers, known to the defendants as "Mo" and "Gloves," say they were with the defendants when they made the explosives and discussed the attacks. They say the men bought fuel, poured it into beer bottles and cut up bandanas for fuses.

The NATO 3 are Brian Church, 20, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Jared Chase, 24, of Keene, NH; and Brent Vincent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla., and they have been charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, material support for terrorism and possession of explosives. They could be sentenced to as many as 85 years in prison. Court documents show the arrests were the result of a weeks-long police investigation, authorities said, hinting that they had audio recordings of the defendants making threats.

The defendants were among those arrested Wednesday in a raid of a Bridgeport apartment by police that defense attorneys say was illegal. They were also in a car that was stopped by Chicago police last week. Video of that incident alleges police tried to intimidate and harass the men. The Sun-Times reports law enforcement officials asked a judge for the "no-knock" warrant because they were preparing to move the explosives to another location and feared they'd lose track. Authorities maintain the raid was just an effort to stop an "imminent threat."

"When someone was in the position (of having) Molotov cocktails — that's pretty imminent," said Police Superintendant Garry McCarthy. "It was not a completed investigation."

Authorities say the group had planned to first attack police stations and squad cars to divert attention while they attacked Obama’s national campaign headquarters in the Prudential Building, Emanuel’s home in Ravenswood and financial buildings. See our previous story for more details and to read the criminal complaint.

Policing experts say the undercover police tactics are similar to those used to arrest eight people before the Republican National Convention in 2008 in St. Paul, Minn., to arrest the man accused of planting a bomb at Wrigley Field, and to arrest the five men accused with plotting to blow up a bridge outside of Cleveland last month. Also, a policing expert told the AP that using terrorism charges for Molotov cocktails "kind of stretches the bounds to define that as terrorism."

In a piece titled "Whose Firebombs?" Newstips writes:

Chicago police have a long history of infiltrating peaceful protest groups and fomenting violence - it’s one reason the Red Squad was banned by a federal court order (later lifted at the request of Mayor Daley) - and infiltration of protest groups seems to be standard operating procedure for “national security events.”

And nationally since 9/11, an embarrassing proportion of “anti-terrorism” cases have involved plots proposed, planned, and enabled by police agents.

Watch defense attorney Deutsch's comments on the arrests below.