By T. D. Thornton
A federal judge has established trial dates for the remaining Thoroughbred-related defendants in the alleged international doping conspiracy case that has already netted several convictions and a number of guilty pleadings.
The most prominent name among the indicted individuals is the barred trainer Jason Servis, whose case will be tried alongside that of New York-based veterinarian Alexander Chan on Jan. 9, 2023.
Servis amassed gaudily high win percentages during the 2010s decade prior to getting arrested on three felony drug misbranding and conspiracy to commit fraud charges in March 2020.
According a trove of wiretaps the government has produced as evidence against him–plus implicating testimony from plea-bargaining defendants who are already imprisoned–Servis allegedly doped almost all the horses under his control in early 2019, including MGISW Maximum Security, who crossed the wire first in the GI Kentucky Derby, but was DQ'd for in-race interference. Chan is alleged to have assisted with the alleged conspiracy.
Another trial grouping set for Sept. 12, 2022, will decide felony charges against former trainer Michael Tannuzzo and Florida-based veterinarian Erica Garcia, both of whom are alleged accomplices of the now-imprisoned former trainer Jorge Navarro.
Alluding to previous setbacks that have caused complications in the court calendar, United States District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil wrote in her May 6 scheduling order, “These are firm trial dates. The Court will not accept delays.”
Previous reasons for pushing back the trials have included conflicts on the calendars of defense attorneys, delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the massive volume of evidence against the defendants that has been introduced.