Cohen Cross-Examined As Giannelli Trial Recesses for Weekend

Sarah Andrew


Day three of Lisa Giannelli's horse doping trial Apr. 29 featured the cross-examination of a key government witness.

Former New York harness trainer Ross Cohen had testified that Gianelli had sold him performance-enhancing drugs that he used to secretly dope horses under his care.

He agreed to cooperate with the government after his arrest in 2020 in connection with the FBI's sweeping horse-doping probe.

The investigation led to charges against a number of individuals including the prominent trainer Jason Servis.

Under questioning by Giannelli attorney Louis Fasulo in U.S. District Court in New York, Cohen was asked about his cooperation agreement in which he admitted to fixing races years ago as well as to doping horses.

Fasulo wanted to know if that was his incentive for becoming a cooperator–to avoid being charged with bribery and facing substantially more punishment.

“My incentive was to try to make right for my wrongs and tell the truth,” Cohen said in response.

Under further questioning, he said it could have been an incentive but then wasn't sure.

“I guess it could have been,” Cohen testified. “I don't know if it was an incentive or not at the time.”

Giannelli is on trial for conspiring to distribute adulterated and misbranded performance-enhancing drugs which were intended to enhance the performance of horses competing at racetracks across the country.

She worked with Seth Fishman, a veterinarian found guilty in February of manufacturing PEDs that were purchased by trainers to dope horses. Prosecutors say Fishman's drugs were designed to avoid post-race testing.

Fasulo told the jury that when Giannelli worked for Fishman out of her home in Delaware, she didn't do anything wrong because her actions didn't involve criminal intent.

Cohen was reluctant to talk about his race-fixing past under Fasulo's probing, part of an effort to damage Cohen's credibility.

At first, Cohen testified he couldn't remember how many races he fixed by bribing drivers to hold their horses back.

“It was more than five, I don't think it was over 20,” he told the jury.

He also couldn't remember how many drivers he paid off, then admitted, “maybe 10.”

When questioned by prosecutor Sarah Mortazavi, Cohen said his cooperation deal doesn't prevent prosecutors from other jurisdictions from charging him with bribery.

He hasn't been sentenced yet and said it would be up to the judge to determine his punishment.

The day concluded in the afternoon with the prosecution reading into the record portions of a witness's testimony from the Fishman trial.

The witness was Courtney Adams who worked for Fishman as an office manager for five years. She was unavailable to testify against Giannelli.

In her testimony, Adams said that Giannelli helped with labeling Fishman products. Prosecutors contend some of those labels violated federal regulations.

“She would suggest edits so the client would know what the product was,” Adams said in her testimony.

During the reading, prosecutors also showed the jury a 2013 text in which Fishman said that Giannelli made over $250,000 in 2012.

During her cross-examination, which was also read into the record, Adams admitted to Fasulo that she didn't know if that was true or not.

The trial resumes Monday.

The Thoroughbred industry's leading publications are working together to cover this key trial.

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