Convicted Veterinarian Seth Fishman Was Hospitalized For Psychiatric Reasons During Trial

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Seth Fishman Bryan Smith

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Dr. Seth Fishman was not present in a Manhattan court in the final days of his trial involving his role in manufacturing and distributing performance-enhancing drugs, an absence that had gone unexplained for months. But a motion issued Friday by his attorney Maurice H. Sercarz seeking an adjournment of his sentencing answered the question. On February 2, 2022, when the jury returned its verdict convicting Fishman, he was an inpatient in the psychiatric wing at Mt. Sinai Hospital West.

Fishman is scheduled to be sentenced Monday. Fishman was originally scheduled to be sentenced on May 5, but Sercarz has twice gotten the court to agree to a delay. His latest request for a delay is the first in which he raises the issue of Fishman's mental problems and delays in completing a report covering his medical and emotional issues.

Sercarz's filing painted a picture of a client who has battled mental health issues on an off for years and was first placed in a psychiatric unit at a New York hospital in 1996.

According to Sercarz's motion, on Feb. 18, Fishman was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals and taken to the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) where he was placed in isolation for over a week and continued to be evaluated by mental health professionals. Additional time was needed for doctors at MDC to come up with a cocktail of medications that could help alleviate his condition.

Fishman remained locked up at MDC into the spring when Fishman and his family agreed to put the veterinarian through tests that would yield a psychological evaluation. On or about April 22, a doctor identified as Dr. Bardley was hired to conduct the evaluation. The process was delayed because Fishman was unable to sign some paperwork due to sporadic lockdowns at MDC.

Bardley conducted his first interview with Fishman on May 27. A follow-up appointment scheduled for June had to be canceled due to another lockdown at MDC. After still more problems, Bardley was able to conduct an evaluation with Fishman, who remains at MDC, on Thursday and submitted a draft of his report to Sercarz. Sercarz wrote that sentencing should be delayed until after Bardley and his staff have had a chance to complete and refine their report.

Sercarz is hoping that submission of Bardley's findings may lead to leniency when it comes to sentencing.

“While the defendant will seek a measure of leniency based upon matters relating to his mental health, we submit that the public will obtain a satisfactory understanding of the nature of the defendant's condition and the way in which it may influence the Court's judgment if limitations are imposed upon descriptions of the defendant's conditions,” the motion reads.

The jury found Fishman, 50, guilty of two counts of conspiring to violate adulteration and misbranding laws and the manufacture of PEDS administered to racehorses. He faces up to 20 years in a federal prison.

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