COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Undercover police working the NATO 3 case may have given the defendants beer more than once, but they never helped or encouraged them to make Molotov cocktails, said Officer Nadia Chikko, who spent time with the activists accused of plotting terror in 2012.
On Friday, the third full day Chikko has spent on the witness stand fielding questions from attorneys about the police investigation of the men known as the NATO 3, the undercover officer defended her actions while "playing a role" as "Gloves."
That undercover role required her to "go with the flow," she said. It also led Chikko to send text messages to defendant Brian Church asking about "beer and bitches" when she and her partner where trying to get invited over to the Bridgeport apartment where they were staying.
Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly are on trial on terrorism charges at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse. They were arrested before the NATO summit after authorities say they caught them with four homemade fire bombs.
Prosecutors have alleged that the three came from Florida with plans to do more than protest peacefully while dignitaries and notables from around the world gathered in Chicago. Their plans allegedly included attacking President Barack Obama's re-election campaign headquarters in the Prudential Building near Millennium Park, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Ravenswood home and other targets.
The state's case hinges on secretly recorded conversations captured by the officers in the days leading up to the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago.
"Are you ready to see a police officer on fire?" Church asked, according to one recording made while his group is accused of putting the finishing touches on four Molotov cocktails.
But defense attorneys have argued that the three are little more than a band of misguided "goofs." They used the prosecution's recorded conversations to argue that the NATO 3 were all talk and no action.
The defense also contends that Church, Chase and Betterly never would have gone as far as they did in their plans to disrupt NATO if not for the two undercover police officers egging them on.
At one point one of the officers can be heard on tape chiding Church for his lack of motivation and ordering him to make a to-do list before he "hit the bowl in the morning."
But Chikko said neither she nor her partner encouraged the alleged terror plot. Neither was "hit the bowl" a reference to drug use. The officer said she was referring to the bathroom.
The focus Friday afternoon shifted to First Amendment protections when defense attorneys Joshua Herman and Molly Armour grilled Chikko about the Chicago Police Department's pre-NATO efforts to ferret out supposed violent anarchists.
"My reason [for going] was to hear if there was going to be any violence to the city of Chicago," Chikko said. "Violent anarchists go to peaceful places to recruit."
Defense attorneys were expected to finish their cross-examination of Chikko Friday afternoon.