Testimony in the NATO 3 trial turned to the subject of molotov cocktails yesterday. as defense attorneys for the 3 men charged with terrorism played recordings made by undercover Chicago police officers and then placed one of the officers on the stand.
Attorneys for the ‘NATO 3’ took their first shot examining one of two Chicago police officers Thursday. Following the playing of more than four dozen recordings from the investigation, prosecutors pointed out details that were answered by the defense lawyers.
As heard on the tapes, CPD undercover officers initially made the suggestion of making Molotov cocktails. Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly, 25 — were arrested shortly after filling glass containers with gas on the porch apartment where they had been staying.
During Officer Nadia “Gloves” Chikko turn on the stand, defense attorneys asked about the tactics used prior to the NATO meeting. The attorney pointed out to jurors that the three had been led by police to make the explosives.
As the testimony in the trial of the NATO 3 continued Thursday in the courtroom, the idea of explosives first happened when Chase put a Lemonhead hard candy into a beer he was holding. Following the fizzing chemical reaction, Church and Betterly then talked about how to best build an acid device that could destroy law enforcement’s clothing.
Later in the recordings, Chikko criticized a homemade ‘mortar’ Church had previously made. The mortar, a piece of PVC pipe that Church later converted to a flagpole, was fragile and could not match the potential of a metal pipe which Chikko had bought. As Mehmet ‘Mo’ Uygun complained about not having a fuel for the Molotov cocktails, Church is heard suggesting vodka as an accelerant.
After searching the apartment, the group found empty glass bottles, but no alcohol for fuel. When the talk turned to using gas, Church said he did not want to pay for it. Church also refused to allow the group to take the gas from his car.
Mehmet told the group he had several dollars and could go with Chase to buy gas at a nearby convenience store. Despite what was captured in the recordings, Chikko stated that Mehmet did not buy the gas or provide the funds to do so.
Betterly is heard on the recordings giving instructions on how to assemble the Molotov cocktails. With gloves on, Chase poured the gas into the bottles and stuffed strips cut from a bandana into the bottles to be used as wicks.
“You ready to see a cop on fire?” Chikko was asked by Church. This statement was pointed out several times by the prosecutors in opening procedures Monday. Church also said on the tapes that he didn’t believe in ‘pre-emptive strikes’ and would only resort to violence once the police started it.
When questioned by Church’s lawyer, Chikko denied motivating the three, claiming she was only going “…with the flow…” of the conversation. Chikko also testified that her job was to listen and report back to police headquarters.
With his probing, Deutsch also got Chikko to admit that Chase had not attacked a business tower in downtown Chicago, nor had Chase shot an arrow into Mayor Emanuel’s home.
Deutsch also questioned Chikko about the methods used by police in the period leading up to the summit. Pointing out that officers had recorded the names and license numbers of people engaged in lawful activities such as a concert at an East Ukrainian record store or the Heartland Cafe.
During one exchange in the testimony, Deutsch asked Chikko why she could be heard singing rap lyrics from the 2 Chainz hit “Riot.”
“It’s catchy and we just repeated it,” Chikko replied.
Arkady Bukh, a New York criminal attorney who defended Azamat Tazhayakov of Boston Marathon Bombings case, remarks that the government continues its battle with terror and stretches its hands to an Average Joe. It is not clear if the circumstances allow the defendants to be called terrorists, but it is clear that beer-soaked evenings can lead to double-digit prison terms, if the court finds them guilty.
Testimony in the NATO 3 trial is to resume today. More explosive testimony is expected.
By Jerry Nelson