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Philanthropist testifies in Conn. trial of man charged with trying to extort millions from her
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) ' Philanthropist Anne H. Bass testified Tuesday about a home invasion at her Connecticut estate in 2007, describing how she heard "war cries" and saw three masked men dressed in black.
Bass, 69, said the men stormed up the stairs, threw her to the ground and tied her up at her home in Kent.
Authorities say the men broke into the house on April 15, 2007, tied up Bass and a guest and injected them with what they claimed was a deadly virus and refused to provide an antidote unless they turned over $8.5 million. The substance turned out to be harmless.
Bass testified at the trial of Emanuel Nicolescu, her former butler, who is charged with attempted extortion. His attorney says he did not participate in the crime.
Prosecutors say his DNA was found in a vehicle stolen during the crime.
Bass said that initially she froze, and then she ran into the kitchen screaming for her longtime companion, Julian Lethbridge, a New York artist who was inside the home with Bass and Bass' 3-year-old grandson.
"I heard these war cries, very terrifying sounds, and saw three men wearing black hoods, black clothes, completely covered, storming up the steps," she testified.
Bass said she tried to pull a door closed, but the intruders grabbed her, dragged her to the living room and threw her to the floor and tied her wrists.
"I kept asking them what they wanted and I would just give it to them," she testified.
She said the intruders told her to shut up.
Lethbridge testified last week that the six-hour ordeal began when he was falling asleep in a sitting room when he was startled by a crashing sound. Then he heard the sound of heavy feet rushing up the stairs and what sounded like a "war cry sound."
Prosecutors say Nicolescu's DNA was found in a Jeep stolen from the property during the crime.
Bass, former wife of Texas billionaire Sid Bass, also has homes in New York City and Fort Worth, Texas.
Information from: The Hartford Courant, http://www.courant.com