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The Latest: Defense attorney says client was no gang leader

Posted September 14

— The Latest in the largest street-gang trial in recent Chicago history (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

The attorney for an alleged gang leader on trial in Chicago says his client was a small-town drug pusher who police framed when he wouldn't cooperate.

Defense attorney Beau Brindley gave his opening statement Wednesday during the trial of six men who prosecutors allege were leaders of the Hobos gang. Prosecutors say the men murdered and tortured their way into controlling lucrative drug markets on Chicago's South Side.

Brindley says his client, Gregory Chester, struggled against all odds to survive in "a caldron." Brindley said Chester sold drugs to acquaintances but had nothing to do with running an organized criminal gang.

He said Chicago police were frustrated they couldn't get Chester to cooperate and so they fabricated evidence suggesting he was a Hobos leader.

He also said Chester was born with severe physical disabilities, adding: "This was not some super gang with a disabled man hobbling around at the helm."

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11:25 a.m.

The lead prosecutor in one of the largest street-gang trials in recent Chicago history is telling jurors that the six men on trial "were an all-star team of the worst of the worst."

Prosecutor Patrick Otlewski gave his opening statement Wednesday in the trial of six alleged leaders of the Hobos gang. Prosecutors say the men murdered, maimed and tortured their way into controlling lucrative drug markets on Chicago's South Side.

The men have pleaded not guilty to racketeering charges.

Investigators allege one of the men, Paris Poe, is a gang hit man who shot a government witness 25 times at close range while his horrified step-children screamed in the back of a car.

Otlewski warned jurors that they will be looking "into the eyes of murderers" every day of the trial.

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1 a.m.

Opening statements are slated for the biggest street-gang trial in recent Chicago history, offering a rare inside look at the kind of gangland activity that's helped fuel city gun violence.

Wednesday is the attorneys' first chance to address jurors about the charges in Chicago federal court.

Six purported leaders of the Hobos gang face racketeering charges. Prosecutors say they murdered, maimed and tortured their way into controlling lucrative drug markets on Chicago's South Side.

One defendant is alleged gang hit man Paris Poe. Prosecutors say he killed a government witness in 2013, shooting the man at close range while his horrified step-kids screamed in the back seat of a car.

All the defendants have pleaded not guilty. If convicted, they each face maximum life prison terms.

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