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January 23, 2014
Defense Attorney Deutsch Challenges Holes in Her Story, Lack of Recollection of Details
Chicago – The third day of the NATO 3 terrorism trial ended with the judge telling undercover Chicago police officer Nadia Chikko to review the tapes of her secret recordings and not to talk about them or her testimony with the prosecutors. Chikko took the stand on Tuesday afternoon and the prosecutor quickly began reviewing 55 recorded conversations the State’s Attorney’s office deemed relevant to the case. Defense attorney Michael Deutsch of the People’s Law Office asked the judge to end yesterday’s proceedings early so Chikko could review the tapes after she repeatedly failed to recall incidents she observed and heard while working undercover.
The three defendants, Brian Jacob Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly, face terrorism charges under the Illinois terrorism statutes and other arson charges, totaling seven charges. These charges were not prosecuted in federal court like most terrorism cases, but under state statutes passed here and in 32 other states hastily and mostly symbolically after 9/11.
The tapes were from recording devices Chikko and her partner, Mehmet Uygun, wore as they infiltrated activist groups throughout Chicago leading up to the NATO summit. The recordings reveal aggressive tactics by the two undercover officers to push the defendants to undertake illegal actions. The officers pressured several of the defendants, provided alcohol to one who was a minor at the time and told the defendants they would buy materials for militant actions. Uygun told two of the defendants on May 4, 2012 that he would make Molotov cocktails and was the first to suggest Molotovs on May 16 when the defendants were arrested in a spectacular house raid, the recordings reveal.
Deutsch, attorney for Church, came out strong in his cross-examination of Chikko. In a conversation Church had on May 4 with Chikko, he states, “I just don’t want to do anything stupid. It would just give them a reason to f—- with us.” The tapes reveal that Chikko and Uygun continued to push Church to make definitive plans whereas he was more interested in partying with his friends. Chikko also admitted that she did not witness Church commit any criminal activity prior to May 16, which only happened after her partner brought up the idea of Molotovs.
Chikko revealed that she had not known what NATO was before being given a 90-day temporary undercover assignment. She had to conduct an internet search to learn more about it before infiltrating activist groups. “Perhaps if Chikko had done more research on the global impact of NATO, as well as how her assignment to target activists fits into a broader pattern of state repression of social movements, she would have seen what everyone who listens to these tapes clearly knows: this case has been politically motivated and baseless from the beginning,” said Jude Ortiz of the NATO 3 Defense Committee. “This is not a fight against terrorism, but a waste of taxpayer dollars and young lives, lives interrupted so far by 21 months of incarceration.”