“NATO 3”: Constitutionality of Illinois Terrorism Statute to be Decided March 27
Judge Thaddeus Wilson will hand down a ruling on the constitutionality of the Illinois terrorism statute – signed into law in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks – on March 27 at 2:00 PM CST.
That announcement was made at the first oral argument at Cook County Courthouse in Chicago, IL on March 18, which I attended and reported on for TruthOut. It took place between the People’s Law Office/other attorneys representing the “NATO 3” and the State of Illinois.
The domestic terrorism case, which started in May 2012 in the days leading up to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit in Chicago, has taken many interesting twists and turns since the start of the new year.
In January, the “NATO 3” defense team lead by the People’s Law Office issued a facial challenge to the IL Terrorism Statute. That motion posited that the statute’s verbiage is overly broad and in violation of the spirit of the First Amendment and due process rights.
As covered here on Antiwar.com, two confidential informants known by the names “Mo” and “Gloves”/”Nadia” helped push the plot along and were in the apartment during a violent military-style midnight raid that saw 11 swept up and held (nine, not including them) and the three young men now known as the “NATO 3” slapped with terrorism charges and a still-standing $1.5 million bond per person. They were in-town to protest NATO’s wars abroad, a week of action culminating in a march of thousands of people across downtown Chicago and many Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans tossing away their medals.
The three have sat in Cook County Jail for ten months, the largest prison in the US and one investigated by the federal government for its shoddy conditions.
Among the more interesting things to come out of the hearing is the fact that the defense has yet to receive many of the discovery materials it has asked for, including key evidence pertaining to the facts under which its clients are being charged. Further, the State of Illinois prosecutors argued that a facial challenge isn’t credible in this situation because the State wasn’t dealing with a hypothetical, but an “imminent threat” that the broadly-written and rarely-used statute was meant to cover to stop preemptively.
Regardless of the ruling Wilson hands down, the trial is sure to wear on for months to come, with a final trial date set for Sept. 16, a day before the two-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.