- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - The question of what makes a terrorist or merely a drunken vandal has dominated openings at the trial of three activists charged under Illinois terrorism laws with plotting attacks during the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago.

Prosecutor Matthew Thruns said in his Tuesday opening that defendants were determined to make international headlines with a series of Molotov cocktail attacks, including on President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters.

He alleges they were bent on making fiery attacks “an iconic image” of the event and wanted to commit an act of terror on a “world stage.”

But defense attorney Thomas Durkin calls the suspects “goofs” who were often in drunk stupors at the time and, at worst, considered acts of vandalism.

Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Vincent Betterly have pleaded not guilty.

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