Pleaded Guilty To conspiring to commit murder for hire, Blues
center Mike Danton, who was to stand trial this fall on charges
that he tried to have David Frost, his agent and longtime mentor,
killed. The surprise deal with federal prosecutors ensures that
Danton, 23, who faced at least 20 years in prison if convicted by
a jury, will serve a maximum of 10. (His sentencing is in
October.) The Brampton, Ont., native may also be allowed to do
his time in Canada, where he would be eligible for parole earlier
than in the U.S.
Under the plea deal Danton can't face any other charges connected
to the case. But Frost, who was banned from having direct contact
with Danton in May, could face obstruction of justice charges
stemming from over 1,000 minutes of taped phone conversations he
had with his jailed client. A source close to the investigation
says Frost, at times referring to himself in code, is heard
coaching Danton on such matters as how to concoct an insanity
defense and how to surreptitiously masturbate in a crowded cell.
(Frost would not discuss the tapes with SI.)
Frost has been accused of having a Svengali-like hold over his
client, who is estranged from his family and changed his surname
from Jefferson in 2002. Frost denies he was the target of
Danton's plot, even though Danton stipulated in court that Frost
was the sole occupant of Danton's apartment the night the player
sent a hit man there. (The hired gun turned out to be an FBI
Without a trial Danton's motives will likely remain a mystery.
His NHL career is also effectively over. "Mike loved hockey," his
lawyer, Robert Haar, said. "We just don't know if that will ever
be a possibility."
July 25, 2004