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Trial Begins For Ex-Cop In Twisted Torture-Murder Plot

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The federal trial of an ex-Chicago cop accused of plotting a double murder began Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Steve Mandell set up a “torture chamber” on the Northwest Side to commit the crimes.

CBS 2’S Jim Williams was in the courtroom.

Ex-Chicago cop Steve Mandell was close to carrying out a stomach-turning crime right out of a horror movie, according federal prosecutors.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amar Bhachu showed jurors what he called Mandell’s “tools of torture,” a clever and a gun.

Bhachu said Mandell and an accomplice planned to pose as cops to kidnap businessman Steve Campbell and bring him to a storefront Mandell leased in the 5300 block of West Devon where Bhachu said Mandell planned to torture Campbell by mutilating his genitals, hoping to force Campbell to turn over cash and titles to his real estate.

FBI agent Richard Tipton set up a bug in the Devon office and testified Mandell is heard on recordings saying he was going to murder Campbell and chop up his body for disposal.

The feds also charge Mandell plotted to kill the owner of the Polekatz strip club.

Mandell’s defense attorney Keith Spielfogel said Mandell was “flinging the B.S. … it was all talk … Mandell never intended to cause harm.”

Prosecutors say Mandell talked in code in describing the plot, calling the alleged target Steve Campbell “Soupy” and giving the alleged torture chamber on Devon the label “Club Med.”

Now, today we learned, in a very unusual move, Mandell plans to take the stand in his own defense.

Mandell left the Chicago police department more than 30 years ago.

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