A jury found a former police officer guilty of planning a violent extortion plot, but he was able to beat the charges in another plot he was accused of planning.
Prosecutors said Steven Mandell, 62, masterminded an elaborate plan to abduct suburban businessman Steve Campbell and take him to a fake business at 5803 West Devon Avenue where he would be tortured and forced to sign over real estate deeds and other items.
Mandell was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to kidnap, one count of conspiracy to extort, one count of extortion, one count of obstruction of justice and one count possession/use of a firearm by a felon.
Mandell was found not guilty of two counts of murder for hire for another plan to kill Anthony Quaranto, a consultant to the Polekats strip club.
When the judge initially polled the jurors, one of them said she didn't agree with the verdict on the last two counts. After further discussion, the judge determined the verdicts will stand.
In closing arguments Friday morning, Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane MacArthur said Mandell's testimony on the stand Thursday was all lies, and called his plan "so chilling, so grim, so progressively sad ... almost stunningly hard to believe."
"He has a thousand reasons to lie in this case," MacArthur said. "Steve Mandell had a goal in his mind and a plan in his heart ... and for the next six months he stalked his prey."
Defense attorney Keith Spielfogel explained the FBI tapes showing Mandell discussing his sinister plan as all talk, and that the "government's case is totally ridden with reasonable doubt."
"He is mouthing words and none of it is true for any reason. The only reason he is doing it is to make money," Spielfogel said.
M andell could face life in prison.
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