Afternoon Briefing: Mistrial declared in juice loan extortion case

Good afternoon, Chicago.

A federal judge today took the rare step of declaring a mistrial for two west suburban men accused in a juice loan extortion scheme after an FBI agent testified he investigated “organized crime matters,” a term that the judge had explicitly barred to avoid prejudicing the jury.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman to halt the trial came after three tumultuous days of testimony, including one witness who accused a defense attorney in front of the jury of being a liar who is “paid to represent criminals” and others with lengthy rap sheets who had to be dragged into court under threat of incarceration.

Here’s what else is happening today. And remember, for the latest breaking news in Chicago, visit chicagotribune.com/latest-headlines and sign up to get our alerts on all your devices.

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