Mola Lenghi, NBC 5 Arlington Reporter
Arlington strip club owner Ryan Grant admitted to a judge that he tried to pay a hit-man to kill Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck and city contract attorney Tom Brandt.
Guilty. That’s the plea from the Arlington strip club owner accused in a murder-for-hire plot.
Thursday morning, Ryan Grant admitted to a judge that he tried to pay a hit-man to kill Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck and city contract attorney Tom Brandt.
The plea deal comes just days before Grant had been set to go to trial. He confessed to the murder-for-hire plot, cutting his possible prison sentence at least in half.
Grant walked into the federal courtroom in Fort Worth, where cameras aren’t allowed, shackled to five other inmates. He rocked in his seat as he waited his turn before the judge.
The former strip club owner is now pleading guilty to murder-for-hire, in exchange prosecutors will throw out the charge accusing him of selling a gun to a known felon for the hit.
A grand jury indicted Grant in July. His attorney, Warren St. John admits Grant had been frustrated with Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck and attorney Tom Brandt for their part in a crackdown on his club, Flashdancer Cabaret.
The business shut down for a year during a bitter legal battle with Arlington. St. John said his client feared the city would force him to permanently close-up shop and felt that had to be stopped.
St. John said his client is remorseful, but didn’t really want the men dead. Federal agents believe otherwise. Investigators claim Grant tried to hire two Mexican hit-men to kill Cluck and Brant for $10,000 per murder.
Investigators obtained recorded phone conversations about the hit and swooped in to arrest the 34-year-old on April 9, the day the murders were supposed to happen.
The two targets, Cluck and Brandt, have said they’re thankful that agents did their job.
Grant will now wait for his sentencing date on Dec. 28. Under the plea deal, 10 years is the maximum amount of prison time Grant could receive.