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In Horse Drugging Next Trial of Giannelli April 27 Date Set As COVID Restrictions Recede

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Thread
BBC - Decrypt - LightRead - Honduras - Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 14 -- In what was called a racehorse doping take-down, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York on the morning of March 9, 2020 announced more than a dozen arrests. 

Inner City Press went to cover the presentments in the SDNY Magistrates Courts and personally witnessed 11 of them, all given bail packages and released: "Defendants up now, arrested 4-5 am in race horse drug adulteration conspiracy case: Alexander Chan (Federal Defender), Christopher Marino, Henry Argueta, Kristian Rhein (retained, R), Michael Tannuzzo, Nicholas Surick (R), Rebecca Linke and Ross Cohen (R)." 

On March 14, 2022, this: "as to Lisa Giannelli. The parties are aware that the Southern District of New York continues to schedule jury trials through a centralized calendaring system. This case received the first back-up slot on April 27, 2022. The Court has been informed that, depending on covid statistics, it is likely that the courthouse will allow two jury trials to begin on the same day. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties must be prepared to being the trial of Defendant Lisa Giannelli on April 27, 2022. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that by April 4, 2022, the parties shall submit revised proposals for voir dire questions, jury instructions, and a verdict form. The voir dire questions and jury instructions must be significantly streamlined in comparison to the previous trial in this case."

On December 6, 2021 the US Attorney's Office told Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil that Seth Fishman is still violating the law with 'bleeder" paste and energy drinks. Then after the jury trial below, on February 2 SDNY "announced the conviction at trial of defendant SETH FISHMAN, DVM, on two counts of drug adulteration and misbranding, with intent to defraud and mislead, in connection with a nearly twenty-year scheme to create and distribute “untestable” performance enhancing drugs for use in professional horseracing. FISHMAN was one of over thirty defendants charged in four separate cases in March 2020, each arising from this Office’s multi-year investigation of the abuse of racehorses through the use of performance enhancing drugs... Among the horses that FISHMAN aided Navarro in doping XY Jet, a thoroughbred horse that won the 2019 Golden Shaheen race in Dubai before dying of sudden heart attack in January 2020. As established at trial, FISHMAN sold tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of PEDs to Navarro over the course of several years, and Navarro specifically credited FISHMAN for XY Jet’s performance at the Golden Shaheen." Have you heard of Amr Abdel Aziz?

On January 14, 2022 Judge Vyskocil ruled: "ORDER as to Erica Garcia, Michael Tannuzzo, Seth Fishman, Lisa Giannelli, Rick Dane, Jr, Jason Servis, Alexander Chan. For the reasons the Court explained on the record at the conference on January 13, 2022, the motions of the Group I defendants to adjourn their trial [ECF Nos. 660, 661] are DENIED. Jury selection will begin on January 19, 2022."

 Now a wrench has been thrown into the trial, which Inner City Press has been covering. The SDNY has announced a new masking or testing policy, which Inner City Press first reported in connection with the Michael Avenatti / Stormy Daniels trial set to begin January 24.

But in this horse trial, on Saturday January 22, this challenge: "Re: US v. Jorge Navarro, et al., S6 20 Cr. 160 (SDNY) (MKV) Dear Judge Vyskocil: Defendants are constrained to protest the new courthouse safety protocol outlined in last night’s order insofar as it contemplates government witnesses testifying in masks while already sequestered in a HEPA-filtered plexiglass box. In our respectful view, adding a mask requirement to the current precautions hampers adequate assessment of witness demeanor and credibility, impermissibly impairing defendants’ Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to confrontation, due process and fair trial. Granted, balancing those essential guarantees against public health considerations is no easy task. But even amid an ongoing pandemic, an additional witness mask requirement seems unwarranted overkill, a belt-and-suspenders approach. Conversely, the prevailing lesser restrictions – including ample distancing and continuously masking all trial participants and spectators save a single testifying witness and speaking lawyer, each sequestered in their own HEPA-filtered plexiglass box – appear more than sufficient. Cf. Md. v. Craig, 497 U.S. 836 (1990); Coy v. Ia., 487 U.S. 1012 (1988)."

On March 4, 2022, this: "  JUDGMENT IN A CRIMINAL CASE as to Christopher Oakes (11). The defendant pleaded guilty to Count(s) 1ss. All open counts Dismissed. Imprisonment: Thirty-six (36) months. Supervised release: One (1) year. The court makes the following recommendations to the Bureau of Prisons: The Court recommends the defendant be housed at FCI Canaan to facilitate family visits. It is further recommended by the Court defendant be placed in a residential drug and alcohol treatment program. The defendant shall surrender for service of sentence at the institution designated by the Bureau of Prisons: before 2 p.m. on 6/1/2022." Watch this site.

  Judge Vyskocil responded with an order that failure to comply with the new protocol would result in sanctions. Then the defense put in a letter seeking to exclude evidence about the death of the horse "Louisville;" Seth Fishman's bid about misjoiner was opposed by the US.

On January 21, Inner City Press managed to get up to the 26th floor for the trial. In the (plexiglass) witness box was ex-FBI agent Angela Jeff. She was cross examined by Seth Fishman's lawyer about her 2010 investigation of David Brooks and notes she took. The lawyer asked, do you recognize anyone in the courtroom, a skinny guy with a big nose? He added that he was describing himself, and said, Hi, nice to see you again.

  Judge Vykocil told him to put his COVID N-95 mask back on, "over your big nose."

   Next up with FBI agent Daniel Follensbee, authenticating photos of the Boca Raton search that found vials and labels. He was told not to talk to any of the lawyers of the weekend, including the government. The AUSA asked if that shouldn't only apply when cross examination started. He was told no, it started the moment the agent went under oath.

 On January 26, the US Attorney's Office put in an immunity order for the compelled testimony of Jamen Davidovich, which "may be necessary to the public interest." 

 On January 28 in the charging conference and after, counsel for Seth Fishman opposed including a conscious avoidance instruction, saying that nothing in the record suggests that Doctor Fishman counsel avoided confirming any relevant fact. Watch this site.

On December 17, this: "JORGE NAVARRO received a sentence of sixty months’ imprisonment today for his leading role in the felony drug misbranding and adulteration charges arising from this Office’s investigation of the abuse of animals through the use of performance enhancing drugs and as charged in United States v. Navarro et al., 20 Cr. 160 (MKV).  NAVARRO was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, who furthered ordered that NAVARRO pay $26,860,514 in restitution for the fraud perpetrated through his doping program."

On January 6-7, 2022, this: "JUDGMENT IN A CRIMINAL CASE as to Michael Kegley, Jr (14). The Defendant pleaded guilty to Count one of the S7 information. All open counts in S1 and S6 are dismissed on the motion of the United States. IMPRISONMENT: 30 months. The court makes the following recommendations to the Bureau of Prisons: The Court recommends the defendant be housed at FCI Ashland. It is further recommended the defendant be housed in a facility where he can receive proper care for his medical condition. The defendant shall surrender for service of sentence at the institution designated by the Bureau of Prisons: before 2 p.m. on 3/7/2022. SUPERVISED RELEASE: 1 year. ASSESSMENT: $100.00 due immediately. (Signed by Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil on 1/6/2022) (lnl)"

On August 2, Federal Defenders filed for defendant Alexander Chan a motion to suppress Title III wiretaps, writing that "When the FBI filed wiretap affidavits to intercept calls from Jason Servis and Kristian Rhein, they knowingly and intentionally misrepresented to the court that SGF-1000 and Clenbuterol were PEDs. They did so despite knowledge that SGF-1000 had been tested by a world reknown laboratory, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Lab and had been found not to be a PED." Watch this site.

On July 30, it emerged the lead defendant was set to plead guilty, see below.

On October 20, Christopher Oakes pleaded guilty. Inner City Press covered it. Judge Vyskocil asked if he trained and drugged thoroughbred or standard horses (standards), and if it was at Yonkers (it was). The AUSA described a covert search of the barn associated with the defendant. Judge Vyskocil accepted the plea and set sentencing for February 17 at 10 am.

On September 29: "ORDER as to Jordan Fishman. Change of Plea Hearing for Jordan Fishman is scheduled for 10/6/2021 at 4:30pm before Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil."

And Inner City Press covered and live tweeted it here

On August 30, trial dates: "ORDER as to Seth Fishman, Lisa Giannelli, Jordan Fishman: It is hereby ORDERED that the following trial schedule will be in effect as to Defendants Seth Fishman, Lisa Giannelli, and Jordan Fishman: The parties must be prepared for trial to commence on November 15, 2021 at a time and courtroom to be notified; Jury charge requests, proposed voir dire questions, and any motions in limine will be due October 25, 2021; Any opposition papers to motions in limine will be due November 1, 2021; The final pre-trial conference will be scheduled for November 10, 2021, at 10:00am in Courtroom 18C of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil on 8/30/2021)."

But on September 15 in another status conference, one defense lawyer cited having another trial before SDNY Judge Valerie E. Caproni. Yet another lawyer had written to SDNY Judge Andrew L. Carter. Other issues arose. It was agreed to postpone this trial to the first quarter of 2022.

 This 19 defendant case is US v. Navarro et al., 20-cr-160 (Viskocil).

 But what of Amr Abdelaziz of Phoenix Thoroughbreds, who used horses to launder money from OneCoin about which the SDNY prosecutors were so concerned until, like with the UN, they weren't? Watch this site.



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