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Danton remains in federal custody

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues forward Mike Danton will plead
not guilty to federal charges that he tried to hire a hit man to kill
an acquaintance, his lawyer said Friday.

"The complaint tells a very bizarre, incomprehensible story
that's inconsistent with what all of Mike Danton's teammates and
those close to him know about him," attorney Bob Haar said. "We
will be entering a plea of not guilty at the time of the
arraignment."


Also Friday, ESPN's Jeremy Schaap and Gare Joyce learned of a former investigation of an incident involving Danton's brother and the reported target of the alleged murder plot.

Some media have identified David Frost, Danton's longtime agent, as the target, although Frost has said repeatedly that that's not the case.

ESPN has learned that Frost, who once pleaded guilty to assaulting a player on a team he was coaching, was investigated three years ago by the Ontario Provincial Police for an alleged incident involving Tom Jefferson. Jefferson is Danton's younger brother and a top prospect himself.

The alleged incident took place at a residence owned by Frost. Jeff Jefferson, uncle to both Tom Jefferson and Mike Danton, who changed his last name to Danton two years ago, confirmed that the investigation took place.

No charges stemming from the alleged incidents were ever filed against Frost. Repeated attempts by ESPN to reach Frost for comment were unsuccessful.

It is uncertain when Danton's arraignment will happen. The player,
arrested in San Jose, Calif., a day after the San Jose Sharks beat
the Blues to eliminate them from the NHL playoffs, remains in
federal custody.

Haar said the U.S. Marshal's Service, partly for security
reasons, does not disclose when a suspect will be moved.

"All we have gotten is very rough predictions from a couple of
days to a couple of weeks," Haar said. "Unfortunately, it's not a
process we have any influence over."

On Thursday, a federal prosecutor said Danton was being brought
back to Illinois to face the charges.

Danton and an alleged accomplice, 19-year-old Katie Wolfmeyer,
of the St. Louis suburb Florissant, were indicted Thursday by a
federal grand jury on charges of conspiring to arrange a murder for
hire and using a telephone across state lines to arrange it.

Wolfmeyer was freed Monday to the custody of her parents on
$100,000 bond.

Federal authorities said that Danton, with Wolfmeyer's help,
tried to hire a hit man for $10,000 to murder an unidentified
acquaintance at Danton's suburban St. Louis apartment. Federal
authorities said the men argued April 13 over Danton's
"promiscuity and use of alcohol." Danton allegedly feared the
acquaintance would talk to Blues management and ruin Danton's
career.

Wolfmeyer was accused of contacting the would-be hit man, who
alerted the FBI.

Ronald Tenpas, the U.S. Attorney for Illinois' southern
district, asserted that Wolfmeyer, who had a "personal
relationship" with Danton, had ample time to reconsider her choice
to help in the plot, but did not. She not only found someone who
said he'd do the killing, she led the man to Danton's apartment
building, Tenpas said.

Tenpas and other authorities refuse to identify the person
Danton is accused of wanting dead. Media reports, citing
unidentified sources, maintained the target was Frost.

Danton came to the Blues in a June trade from the New Jersey Devils, where he had been twice suspended for disciplinary reasons.
This season, Danton -- serving as a fourth-line agitator -- had seven
goals, 12 points and 141 penalty minutes, which tied him for most
on the team.

Blues players released a statement Thursday in support of their
teammate, saying they wanted to "tell everyone about the player
and person we know. The media's portrayal of Mike has not been
balanced and has not accurately reflected the character of the
person we have spent the past 215-plus days with."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.