The NATO 3 and their trial have been in the news for a week. The trial continued today in Chicago with both sides getting a chance to view and examine the BP Station security video that shows Jared Chase purchasing gasoline with an undercover Chicago Police Department officer known as “Mo.”
The manager of the station, located at 3047 S. Halsted Street in Chicago, spent much of the morning on the stand while defense attorneys and prosecutors quizzed him. According to the manager’s testimony, he didn’t come forward to tell police about the existence of the surveillance tape until January 2014. When one of the attorneys asked him what had taken him so long, the manager replied that he had intended to either sell the tape or post it on YouTube.
One of the suspected terrorists purchased gas from a BP Station a few blocks from where the NATO 3 were staying. In the video he is with an undercover Chicago Police Department officer whose street name is “Mo.” In the video, Chase and “Mo” can be seen walking into the service area. Chase hands “Mo” a container and continues into the store, while “Mo” takes the container and sits it on the ground in front of a gasoline pump. Chase returns to the pump and stands beside “Mo” as the container is filled. When finished, Chase carries the container as they leave the station together.
“Mo” and his undercover partner, Nadia “Gloves” Chikko, made a series of recordings while spending time with the NATO 3 suspects. As heard on the tapes, the officers initially suggested making Molotov cocktails to the three charged with terrorism. The three – Church, Chase and Betterly – were arrested a day after filling glass containers with gasoline.
“Gloves” was questioned by defense attorneys about the tactics the CPD used in the weeks leading up to the NATO summit. Pointedly, one of the attorneys told the jurors that the three “terrorists” had been guided by law enforcement in the making of the explosives.
According to previous testimony, the plan to make explosives first occurred when one of the NATO 3 dropped candy into a beer and it fizzed. Two of the suspects then allegedly spoke about utilizing acid that would eat the police officers’ clothing at the upcoming demonstrations.
Chikko was heard in the recordings, played in court, criticizing a “mortar” which one of the three had constructed. Made of a length of PVC, the suspect later turned it into a flagpole. While Chikko and Church are heard on the tape, “Mo” is heard in the background complaining about the lack of gasoline for the cocktails. Church speaks up on the tape and suggests using Absolut as an option. Instead, it was decided that Chase and “Mo” would go to the station to purchase gas.
Also shown to the jurors in today’s session were weapons that had been seized from Chase’s maroon Ford. Officers found, in the trunk, a Ninja “throwing star,” a bow and arrow set, two vests and surgical gloves. Under questioning, the Illinois State Patrol forensics officer said he didn’t think the items were “weapons of mass destruction.”
The trial of the NATO 3 is expected to conclude next Tuesday. The defendants face up to forty years in prison if convicted.
By Jerry Nelson