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Former butler on trial in Conn. extortion case
Former butler accused of break-in, extortion of Conn. socialite heads to trial
By The Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) ' A trial is set to start for a former butler charged with attempting to extort $8.5 million from philanthropist Anne H. Bass by breaking into her Connecticut estate and injecting her with what the intruders claimed was a deadly virus.

Authorities say Emanuel Nicolescu (nik-oh-LES'-kyoo) and at least two other men invaded Bass's house in Kent around 11 p.m. April 15, 2007, brandishing knives and what appeared to be guns. The attackers are accused of injecting Bass and a guest and demanding money in exchange for an antidote.

Authorities say the substance likely was an ink. The victims were treated at a hospital.

Nicolescu, 31, has pleaded not guilty to charges including attempted extortion.

His trial starts Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New Haven. His attorney declined comment.

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