Steve Mandell trial: Undercover tapes heard in ex-cop's murder plot trial

February 12, 2014 (CHICAGO)

There was more dramatic testimony Wednesday in the trial of former police officer Steve Mandell.

Jurors have heard several hours of recorded conversations so far. Mandell's attorneys contend that their client is merely talking, but federal prosecutors say he's doing more than talking-- he's plotting two murders.

Mandell is on trial in federal court for a second time. A previous conviction of the former Chicago police officer was overturned. Mandell is now accused of a plan to kill a local businessman in order to profit from a club and rental properties.

The government's witness George Michael testified for a second day. Jurors heard video and audio recordings between George and Mandell.

In the conversations Michael testified that they spoke in code about a location where the would-be victims would be tortured and killed, and referred to it as "Club Med." The government witness refers to the soviet dictator Joseph Stalin when talking about retrofitting rental space for the would-be crime scene.

Michael: "Anyway I went--"
Mandell: "What's new sir?"
Michael: "I, I went to Club Med. (Inaudible)."
Mandell: "Did you enjoy it? Did you like it?"
Michael: "I got, I got to tell you. I got to make a joke out of this. This place would have made Stalin proud."

In another conversation, Mandell is asking about Michael's meeting with the alleged would-be victim to lure the businessman into the kidnapping.

Mandell: "So, you arranged to go see the spot? You guys spent about at least an hour together? Did you buy him dinner or anything?"
Michael: "No sir, didn't need to."
Mandell: "Did he buy you dinner?"
Michael: "No sir, didn't need to."
Mandell: "He wants to see more of you?"
Michael: "He wants to take me on an entire tour sir."
Mandell: "Will you do that?"
Michael: "Yes sir."
Mandell: "Will that other place be in position soon?"
Michael: "Why don't me make a telephone call sir."

The jurors heard an FBI agent on Tuesday. The agent testified that he posed as the would-be victim after listening to recorded conversations and Mandell was arrested.

In recordings played late Wednesday, Michael testified that at some point during these recordings, Mandell was actually coaching him on how to act if he were to be questioned by police officers after these crimes were committed. More recordings are expected to be heard by jurors in the trial.

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