CHICAGO (AP) — Three U.S. protesters pleaded not guilty Monday to terrorism-related charges that accuse them of plotting to attack President Barack Obama's campaign headquarters with Molotov cocktails during the NATO summit in Chicago this year.
The charges include four filed under Illinois' never-before-used anti-terrorism statutes.
Prosecutors revealed for the first time that their evidence includes secretly recorded conversations, though they offered no details.
The suspects — Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Vincent Betterly —have been jailed since their arrests days before summit began in May.
Their attorneys entered not guilty pleas on their behalf to all 11 counts, which include charges of attempted arson, solicitation to commit arson, conspiracy to commit arson and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon.
If convicted, each could spend decades in prison.
One of Church's attorneys, Sarah Gelsomino, said much of the evidence seems to rely heavily on two undercover police who befriended the defendants in the weeks before the summit.
Prosecutors did not speak to reporters after the hearing.
The judge set a tentative trial date of July 22, 2013.
"If they are still in custody for a trial in July 2013, that is too long," Chase's lawyer, Thomas Durkin, told reporters. "We don't want them rotting in jail."
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