Harness Trainer Dane Accepts Government Plea Deal

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Sarah Andrew photo

Harness trainer Rick Dane Jr., one of the 27 people indicted by the federal government on charges of doping racehorses, has accepted a plea offer from the government and his case will now not go to trial.

The news was delivered in a Friday, Feb. 11 letter from United States attorney Damian Williams to Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil.

“The Government writes on behalf of the Government and defense counsel for Rick Dane, Jr., the defendant in the above-captioned case, to alert the Court that the defendant has accepted a plea offer extended by the Government. Consequently, the parties respectfully request that the Court schedule a change of plea hearing for a date next week; the parties are available any day except Thursday, February 17, 2022. The parties further request that the Court adjourn the deadlines for all trial-related submissions sine die, in light of the anticipated change of plea proceeding.”

The hearing is set for February 18 at 1 p.m.

Several of the defendants who originally pled not guilty and who were awaiting trial have changed their plea to guilty, including Jorge Navarro, Kristian Rhein, Jordan Fishman, Marcos Zulueta, and Christopher Oakes, who, like Dane, was a harness racing trainer. Dane's New Jersey Horse Racing license was revoked in March, 2020, two days after the indictments were announced.

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