By T. D. Thornton
The veterinarian Seth Fishman, who is currently incarcerated at Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn after being convicted Feb. 2 on two felony counts in an international performance-enhancing drug (PED) racehorse doping conspiracy, had his lawyer ask a federal judge on Thursday to push back his May 5 sentencing because he is having trouble filling out required paperwork.
Fishman is facing 20 years in prison, and he also has an active motion before the same judge asking for the first of his two convicted counts to be dismissed on the basis that he was allegedly charged twice for the same crime.
According to a one-page letter filed Apr. 7 by attorney Maurice Sercarz in United States District Court (Southern District of New York), Fishman “did not receive the financial forms that he must fill out prior to sentencing until the last week in March. Dr. Fishman's financial circumstances are complex and he does not have access to all of the records he needs in order to properly fill out the forms.”
The letter continued: “The Probation Department informs me that without Dr. Fishman's financial records, they cannot provide me with a draft Presentence Report. Thus, Probation was unable to provide the requisite draft Presentence Report (PSR) within 35 days of the May 5, 2022, sentencing date pursuant [to federal rules].
“Accordingly, I am requesting an adjournment of Dr. Fishman's sentencing date for approximately three weeks. This should afford him adequate time to complete the financial reporting requirements as best he can under the circumstances, and put us back on track to have the PSR disclosure process completed in time for sentencing.”
Sercarz wrote that he has informed federal prosecutors of the delay, and that they have no objection to the request to push back the sentencing.
Although a number of defendants named in the wide-ranging racehorse doping conspiracy pleaded guilty prior to Fishman, he was the first from a federal sweep of several dozen individuals indicted in 2020 to stand trial and to be found guilty by a jury.
Fishman's case has been notable thus far because of the breadth of his legal maneuverings and some courtroom drama, which included the Florida-based veterinarian being inexplicably absent from court during his sentencing. A cryptic comment from Fishman's attorney to the judge during closing arguments led to speculation that Fishman had to be hospitalized.
In December 2021, the judge in Fishman's case modified his bail conditions after federal prosecutors alleged he was still selling PEDs while awaiting trial.
And in January 2022, one week before his trial was scheduled to start, Fishman had unsuccessfully asked the judge to delay the trial over concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.