By Bill Finley
Lawyers representing Jason Servis filed a motion Monday to have evidence against him that was obtained through wiretaps thrown out. Attorneys Rita Glavin and Michael Considine charge that the government obtained authorization from a court to tap into Servis's phone based on a sworn affidavit from an FBI agent that, they contend, “contained deliberately or recklessly false statements and the material omission of statutorily and constitutionally required information.”
The Servis legal team argues that the wire taps evidence should be thrown out because using it represents a violation of Servis's Fourth Amendment rights. The Fourth Amendment reads, in part: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”
Servis has been charged with a long-running history of using performance-enhancing drugs on his horses, including the drug SGF-1000. The bulk of the evidence obtained against Servis comes from taps of his phone and the phones of others. The charges levied against him would be much more difficult to prove without the evidence from the tapped phones.
In an intercepted conversation with trainer Jorge Navarro, who is also under indictment, Servis said that he used SGF-1000 on “everything almost.”
Glavin and Considine are also seeking to have evidence obtained from wiretaps of the phones of Navarro, veterinarian Kristian Rhein and Alexander Chan, a veterinarian who worked with Rhein, suppressed.
“Mr. Servis's communications were unlawfully obtained as a result of those wiretaps, and he is an aggrieved party with standing to bring this motion,” his lawyers wrote. According to the original indictments release last year, Navarro is also heard admitting he used SGF-1000. On another intercepted call of note, Rhein tells Servis that, when it comes to SGF-1000, “They don't even have a test for it.”
The story was first reported by the Bloodhorse.
Servis's attorneys also charge that the government made “material misrepresentations” to the court about SGF-1000, stating that it is a performance-enhancing drug that contained “growth factors,” purposefully exaggerating the performance-enhancing qualities of SGF-1000 to obtain permission to tap the phone. The Servis lawyers write that SGF-1000 is not, in fact, a performance-enhancing drug. The filing reads: “SGF-1000 was tested on numerous occasions by independent laboratories and found to contain no growth factors. Instead, SGF-1000 tested as ovine (sheep) collagen, a substance which was unlikely to have any effect on a horse's performance at all.”
The motion also states that “SGF-1000 was repeatedly tested prior to the wiretap and found to contain no performance-enhancing substances.”
Whether or not SGF-1000 is a performance-enhancing drug could be a moot point. Throughout the case, the government has argued that even if a drug is not a performance-enhancer, it is illegal for a trainer to use it when their intent is to dope or “juice” a horse.
Despite the notoriety SGF-1000 has received because of the Servis-Navarro case, it is not hard to find it. It is available from the website vetpharmacystore.com, which is peddling a box of SGF-1000 for €170. The company describes SGF-1000 as an innovative formulation that includes “potent growth factors.”
The lawyers also charge that the government misled the courts about the urgency to use wiretaps at a time when it had not exhausted normal investigative procedures. “The Government failed to take even the most basic of investigative steps with respect to Mr. Servis, and instead ran to the district court for a wiretap as essentially its first investigative step,” they wrote.
In another attempt to bolster their case, the lawyers point out that Servis is “a trainer whose horses did not fail any post-race drug tests since the FBI's investigation in this case began in 2017 and through the date of the Mar. 9, 2020 Indictment.”
In Glavin, Servis has hired one of the top defense lawyers in the Northeast. It has been a busy few days for the attorney, who also represents New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal. On Tuesday, New York State Attorney General Letitia James released a report alleging that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, including current and former government workers.