Strip Club Owner Pleads Not Guilty in Murder-for-Hire

Ryan Grant says he's been under the care of a mental health professional


Ryan Grant, the strip club owner accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill Arlington mayor Robert Cluck and attorney Tom Brandt, pleaded not guilty in an arraignment hearing Wednesday.

Grant, 34, was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 19.  His trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 24.

According to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Grant entered the courtroom Wednesday cracking jokes with his lawyer and told the court that he's been under the care of a mental-health professional -- which he said didn't affect his ability to enter a plea.

Grant was reportedly angry with Cluck and the attorney after he agreed to close his strip club, Flashdancer Cabaret, for one year in order to settle a nuisance lawsuit filed by the city and the Texas attorney general.

Grant sought to hire two Mexican hit men to kill Cluck and Brandt, according to affidavits. Court documents said Grant went so far as to set up a meeting where he met with a man about the murder-for-hire plot and provided pictures of Cluck and Brandt.

According to an FBI criminal complaint, Grant offered to pay $10,000 for each murder.

Grant now faces one count of murder-for-hire and one count of the unlawful transfer of a firearm for giving a Norinco semi-automatic rifle to an individual he knew to be a felon. If convicted, each count carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Grant was arrested April 9, the same day investigators said he ordered the hits on Cluck and Brandt.

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