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Ex-Cop Says Recorded Conversation About Torture-Murder Was All Talk

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Steve Manning, now known as Steve Mandell, in 2005. (CBS File Photo)

Steve Manning, now known as Steve Mandell, in 2005. (CBS File Photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The ex-police officer accused in a bizarre murder plot took the stand today in his own defense.

“No way in the world.” That’s what ex-cop Steven Mandell said about the accusations against him.

Mandell admitted he could be heard on audio tapes talking about killing, draining the blood and even dismembering one of the men he says he was hired to investigate.

But Mandell even turned to the jurors, saying it was all talk.

Jurors saw handcuffs, a pistol, knives and saws — prosecutors say Mandell planned to use them in a series of murder-for-hire plots.

But Thursday, Mandell told the court items that may look like murder tools were just props.

In a stern and certain voice, Mandell said, “They were all props … for supposed killings that were never going to take place, never in a million years.”

The props, Mandell says, he used to convince the man who’d hired him to keep paying him.

Mandell testified real-estate baron George Michael sometimes paid him a $1,000 a week to track several of Michael’s enemies, some of which Michael allegedly wanted dead so he could take over their interest in a strip club.

“I was feeding that man’s obsession and getting paid for it at the same time. I constantly lied to him,” Mandell said.

The man who allegedly hired Mandell was actually a government informant.

Mandell called him “worse” than a rat.

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