Opening arguments in Emanuel Nicolescu's trial are scheduled for Wednesday in federal court in New Haven, The Hartford Courant reported.
Prosecutors say Nicolescu and two other men held Anne Bass and her companion, Julian Lethbridge, hostage at her 1,000-acre estate in South Kent in 2007. He had been dismissed almost a year earlier as her butler or household chief of staff.
The intruders allegedly blindfolded Bass and Lethbridge and injected them with something they claimed was a deadly virus, although it later proved to be ink, officials said. They demanded $8.5 million in exchange for the antidote, the Courant reported.
The men left without any money five hours later. Bass had told them she did not keep that kind of cash on hand.
Bass's 3-year-old grandchild was also in the house but was not harmed. Bass's Jeep was stolen but turned up later in New York City, allegedly with Nicolescu's DNA inside.
Bass, ex-wife of oil man Sid Bass, is a philanthropist and patron of the arts.
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