By T. D. Thornton
The judge in the federal case against 14 alleged horse dopers on Friday granted a motion by the defense to extend the time frame to file motions to suppress evidence because of the massive amount of documentation that attorneys must sift through, which includes transcripts of potentially incriminating phone recordings, emails and text messages.
“Given the volume of discovery that we are still reviewing, I respectfully request that the Phase Two Motions schedule be modified as follows: defense motions due June 28, government response due July 28, and defense replies due on Aug. 11,” attorney Rita Glavin, who represents the disqualified GI Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Jason Servis, wrote in a request to modify the briefing schedule.
Glavin wrote that the request has the support of the attorneys for the remaining 13 defendants in the alleged conspiracy to manufacture, mislabel, distribute and administer performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds across America and in international races. She added that the prosecuting attorneys have consented to the extension.
The time extension was granted Mar. 12 by U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, which effectively pushes back the start of a trial until after Labor Day.
On Mar. 9, one year to the date of the nationwide that sting resulted in the first arrests in the case, Scott Robinson, a drug manufacturer and distributor who had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of drug adulteration and misbranding, was the first defendant to get sentenced for his crimes. A federal judge imposed 18 months in federal prison and ordered Robinson to forfeit $3.8 million in PED sales proceeds for his role in the alleged doping network. The maximum sentence for that offense is five years.
Of the remaining defendants, the headline-grabbers are Servis, who transformed Maximum Security from a $16,000 maiden-claimer into a MGISW star during the time the feds collected evidence on his alleged stable-wide doping practices, and the now-barred but formerly above-norm-win-percentage trainer Jorge Navarro, whom the government allegedly has on tape boasting about dosing elite-level sprinter X Y Jet “with 50 injections” of PEDs prior to a win in the 2019 GI Golden Shaheen in Dubai.
The 12 other defendants are drug manufacturers, distributors, stable employees, and veterinarians allegedly involved to various degrees in the five counts listed in the indictment: Erica Garcia, Christopher Oakes, Michael Tannuzzo, Marcos Zulueta, Rebecca Linke, Kristian Rhein, Michael Kegley, Jr., Alexander Chan, Seth Fishman, Jordan Fishman, Lisa Giannelli and Rick Dane, Jr.
Right now the court case is in the midst of a preliminary round of hearing “dispositive motions” that the defense has thus far filed to try and put an end to some of the charges. A secondary round of motions dealing only with requests to suppress evidence and expert testimony is the time frame that got extended on Friday. The next status hearing in the case is May 14.