- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - The lead prosecutor in a state terrorism trial of three NATO protesters will fill one of two vacancies on the U.S. District Court bench in Chicago.

Sen. Dick Durbin’s office says the Senate approved Cook County prosecutor John Blakey’s nomination Tuesday evening. Cook County Judge Jorge Alonso was approved for the other vacancy.

President Barack Obama nominated them this year.

At trial this year, Blakey accused the activists of plotting attacks during a 2012 Chicago NATO summit. He dubbed them “Professor Molotov,” ”Captain Napalm” and “Mr. Cop on Fire.”

Critics say the terrorism charges were prosecutorial overreach. Jurors acquitted the three of terrorism but found them guilty of lesser charges.

Blakey helped craft Illinois’ new anti-racketeering statute. Decades ago, his law-professor father, G. Robert Blakey, helped draft federal RICO laws.

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