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Judge Says Jury Can Hear Tapes of Millionaire's Attempt to Hire Hit Man

Associated Press

NORRISTOWN, PA. (AP) - Police followed proper procedure when they tape recorded Main Line millionaire Joel Sandler's alleged attempt to hire a hit man to kill his estranged wife, a judge said Tuesday.

The ruling by Montgomery County Judge William T. Nicholas clears the way for prosecutors to use the tapes as the centerpiece of their case against Sandler, a Bryn Mawr securities broker who has been held without bail since his arrest last April.

Sandler, 51, is accused of offering an undercover police officer $30,000 to kill his wife, Linda.

Prosecutors said Sandler wanted his wife dead to keep her from collecting half the couple's $4.5 million estate in a divorce.

She has been in hiding in another, undisclosed state since his arrest.

Police said they set up meetings between the detective and Sandler after an informant tipped them off that he was looking for a hit man.

Police recorded two meetings and four phone conversations, in which Sandler and the detective allegedly haggled over the price of the killing and discussed how it would be done.

Defense attorney Thomas A. Bergstrom had argued that police did not properly fill out paperwork in their application for permission to record the meetings.

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