By Jason Meisner
8:05 AM CST, February 11, 2014
Opening statements are scheduled for Tuesday morning after 12 jurors and four alternates were selected today to decide the fate of a former death row inmate charged with plotting to kidnap and kill a businessman.
The informant who secretly recorded Steven Mandell in the alleged plot could take the witness stand as early as Tuesday, federal prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve.
George Michael, 59, a colorful Northwest Side real estate magnate, is expected to testify about the dozens of audio and video recordings made during the investigation of Mandell, who is charged in a lurid plot to kidnap a suburban businessman, extort him of his cash and real estate holdings, then kill him and chop his body into pieces.
Mandell also is accused of plotting to kill another man in order to take over his financial interest in a lucrative, mob-connected strip club, prosecutors alleged.
Once known as Steve Manning, Mandell was exonerated a decade ago in the murder of a trucking firm owner, freed from prison and then won a federal lawsuit against the FBI for framing him.
After his arrest in October 2012, prosecutors alleged that Mandell had been caught trying to arrange Michael's murder from his jail cell.
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