Verdict in Chicago NATO 3 trial: guilty of mob action and arson, but not terrorism

L-R: Brent Betterly, Jared Chase, Brian Jacob Church. Images from Free The Nato 3 website.

The so-called NATO 3 were convicted today of two counts of mob action, but not the more serious charges of terrorism," reports the Chicago Tribune. "Jurors deliberated nearly eight hours before reaching the verdict for Brent Betterly, 25, Jared Chase, 29, and Brian Church, 22." In the course of the trial, the jury literally got to decide what constituted terrorism.

The issue before the jury has rarely been so divergent: Did three out-of-state men who came to Chicago in the days before the NATO summit in 2012 want to violently bring about an anarchist revolution or were they just loud-mouthed simpletons who liked to brag?

Two undercover police who joined the group made secret recordings of conversations with the three men from Florida, while posing as fellow activists. Attorneys for the NATO 3 say the recordings document nothing more than boasts, and their clients had no plan to act on them.

Kevin Gosztola of Firedoglake has been live-tweeting from the trial, and reporting extensively.