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updated: 2/8/2014 9:54 AM

NATO trial prosecutor stands behind terror charges

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  • This combo made of undated file photos provided by the Chicago Police Department shows from left, Brent Vincent Betterly, of Oakland Park, Fla., Jared Chase, of Keene, N.H., and Brian Church, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. On Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, a jury in Chicago acquitted the three NATO summit protesters of breaking Illinois' rarely tested state terrorism law, but did convict them on lesser arson counts.

      This combo made of undated file photos provided by the Chicago Police Department shows from left, Brent Vincent Betterly, of Oakland Park, Fla., Jared Chase, of Keene, N.H., and Brian Church, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. On Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, a jury in Chicago acquitted the three NATO summit protesters of breaking Illinois' rarely tested state terrorism law, but did convict them on lesser arson counts.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- A prosecutor is standing by her decision to invoke a rarely used Illinois law to charge three protesters with terrorism in 2012 -- days before NATO's Chicago summit.

After jurors acquitted them Friday of all terrorism charges, prosecutor Anita Alvarez said she had no regrets. She told reporters she'd file the same charges again without hesitation.

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Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly were accused of plotting Molotov cocktail attacks on President Obama's campaign office and other targets.

While acquitted of terrorism, they were convicted of lesser counts, including arson. They could still spend years in prison.

But defense attorney Thomas Durkin says the terrorist-count acquittals was a blow for Illinois' terrorism statute, passed after the 9/11 attacks. He calls the prosecution "a waste of state resources."

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