Chicago — Three men charged with conspiring to commit domestic terrorism during the NATO summit were plotting to attack President Obama's Chicago campaign headquarters, the Chicago mayor's home and police stations, authorities said Saturday.
A police investigation that began early this month revealed that the three suspects are "self-proclaimed anarchists" and members of the "Black Bloc" group who traveled together from Florida to Chicago to commit violence as a protest against the NATO summit, authorities said in a statement.
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The three men were planning to destroy police cars and attack four Chicago Police Department district stations with destructive devices as a way to undermine police response to other planned actions at the NATO summit, according to a statement by Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.
Downtown Chicago financial institutions were also among the proposed targets, authorities said.
An Illinois judge set bail at $1.5 million for each of the three suspects.
In court, prosecutors accused the three men of "preparing for violence and destruction," such as stockpiling Molotov cocktails and other weapons, and planning attacks on police.
But the defense called those accusations "propaganda" and contended authorities "infiltrated" a peaceful group and set up the three men.
Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly -- all described as "out-of-state men" -- were charged with criminal acts relating to terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism and possession of explosives, the Cook County State's Attorney office said.
The judge set the three defendants' next court date for Tuesday.
On Sunday, NATO kicks off its two-day summit in Chicago, and the war in Afghanistan is expected to dominate discussions. Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Zardari are both expected to attend the meeting.
A user's guide to the NATO summit
NATO leaders are currently on a timetable to withdraw all of the alliance's combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014.