Verdict reached in trial on alleged Chicago NATO summit attack plot

CHICAGO Fri Feb 7, 2014 3:50pm EST

Brian Church (L), 20, Brent Vincent Betterly (C), 24 and Jared Chase, 24, are seen in these handout photos from the Chicago Police department released to Reuters May 19, 2012. REUTERS/Chicago Police/Handout

Brian Church (L), 20, Brent Vincent Betterly (C), 24 and Jared Chase, 24, are seen in these handout photos from the Chicago Police department released to Reuters May 19, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Chicago Police/Handout

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - A Chicago jury has reached a verdict in the trial of three men who face terrorism charges for allegedly plotting to attack high-profile targets during a 2012 NATO summit, the Cook County Sheriff's Office said on Friday.

The jury began deliberations Thursday in the trial of Brian Jacob Church, 22, and Brent Betterly, 25, both of Florida, and Jared Chase, 29, of New Hampshire.

The men, known by the nickname the "NATO 3," are charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism under an Illinois anti-terrorism law adopted after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The verdict is expected to be read at 4 p.m. (2200 GMT) in Cook County Circuit Court, the sheriff's office said.

The case marks the first time Illinois prosecutors had invoked the conspiracy charge. The defendants face decades in prison if convicted on the conspiracy to commit terrorism charge and other charges.

The three are accused of planning attacks during the Chicago meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organization officials using fire bombs, targeting police stations and President Barack Obama's re-election headquarters, along with other locations.

A prosecutor said in closing arguments on Thursday that the three defendants were bent on mayhem. Defense attorneys described the men as drunken braggarts who had talked big to impress undercover officers.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Writing by David Bailey; Editing by Scott Malone and Leslie Adler)

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