In a high profile case in Arlington, Texas, the owner of a strip club that ran into trouble with the city, has pleaded guilty to plotting to murder the Mayor and a lawyer working for the city.
KVUE.com reported 34-year-old Ryan Walker Grant faces serving 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, after taking a plea deal.
Prosecutors said the plot to kill Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck and Dallas-based contract attorney Tom Brandt, after a long legal battle between his club and the city, was hatched earlier this year.
The City of Arlington had ordered Grant’s club, Flashdancers Cabaret to close for a year in January, 2012, after a long litany of complaints was highlighted by police and code enforcers.
“In 2010, the city ruled that Flashdancers was a nuisance, defined in city parlance as a place where drugs, gambling or prostitution are regularly available. Grant then sued over the labeling. He and the city reached a settlement in January that would shutter the club until 2013,” KVUE reported.
The Star-Telegram reported Grant, 34, the co-owner of the club, entered a plea before U.S. District Judge John McBryde at the Fort Worth federal courthouse. It said prosecutors dropped another charge, that was unrelated to the murder plot, that of transferring a firearm to a known felon.
Grantis is set to be sentenced on Dec. 28, 2012. The expected sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, is approximately half of what Grant would have faced if convicted on the counts.
Grant was arrested on April 3, 2012 after a phone call between the strip club owner and an unnamed person, was recorded by federal authorities. Reports said the other party was a federal informer who started to gather evidence.
Grant met the informer later in the same day and provided more specific information including names, photos and contact information for Cluck and the attorney who represented the city in the legal battle with Flashdancers, prosecutors said.
An affidavit said Grant offered a bounty of $10,000 per person, according to reports and Grant said he hoped the killings could be carried out by men from Mexico, so as they could escape south of the border, after carrying out the hits.
Grant originally pleaded not guilty to federal counts of murder for hire and unlawfully transferring a firearm.
His defense lawyers argued he never really wanted the Mayor killed but was frustrated.
The evidence of informants result in many convictions but there are lingering questions about their reliability, an issue that was recently recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Cash v. Maxwell, a case that involved an unreliable informant who was fabricating inmates’ confessions for his own gain, according to evidence.