FBI Indictments

Barred Trainer Tannuzzo Poised to Change Plea in Doping Case

The barred trainer Michael Tannuzzo appears poised to join the parade of indicted defendants in the 2020 racehorse doping conspiracy case who have changed their pleas to guilty in order to keep felony charges against them from getting decided at trial. On Tuesday a federal judge granted Tannuzzo a swift July 7 hearing to explain his reasons for wanting to change his initial "not guilty" plea. Tannuzzo, 50, who had 11 horses under his care and had been racing at Aqueduct at the time of his March 9, 2020, arrest,...

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Veterinarian Louis Grasso Enters Guilty Plea in Doping Case

Louis Grasso, a veterinarian who served the harness racing industry and who was one of 29 individuals indicted in March of 2020 for his role in a racehorse doping ring, entered a guilty plea in federal court Wednesday before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel. He was charged with one count of drug adulteration and misbranding conspiracy, a felony, and could face as much as five years in prison. The prosecution charged that Grasso's doping led to corrupt trainers collecting over $47 million in "ill-gotten purse winnings." He will be...

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Fishman Adds Lawyer Known for Defending Controversial Clients

An attorney who has been in the headlines for defending high-profile clients such as the convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted NXIVM "sex cult" leader Keith Raniere, and the convicted Mexican drug lord and murderer Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera on Monday got added to the legal team for Seth Fishman, the indicted Florida veterinarian whose trial in the nationwide racehorse doping conspiracy case begins Jan. 19. The New York-based lawyer Marc Fernich, who has extensive experience defending clients in the United States District Court (Southern District of New York)...

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Judge Modifies, But Does Not Revoke Fishman's Bail Conditions

After federal prosecutors alleged that indicted Florida veterinarian Seth Fishman is still selling purportedly performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) while awaiting trial in the international racehorse doping conspiracy case, the judge in the case Wednesday ordered new bail modification conditions after hearing both sides of the issue at a Monday hearing that could have--but didn't--result in Fishman's bail being revoked. Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil of United States District Court (Southern District of New York) wrote in a Dec. 22 order that the following added terms shall apply to Fishman's pretrial release: "The...

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Trial Groupings Reset for Defendants in Alleged Doping Conspiracy

In the wake of nine defendants in the alleged nationwide horse-doping conspiracy case having changed their pleas to "guilty" in recent months, a Nov. 4 status hearing reset the trial groupings for the remaining defendants, with those trials all now anticipated to commence in the first half of 2022. Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil of United States District Court (Southern District of New York) also ordered that all remaining motions to suppress evidence that are pending on the docket are to be considered denied, noting that her written opinion on that...

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Alleged Doper Oakes the Latest Defendant to Ask for Plea-Change Hearing

Christopher Oakes, a barred Standardbred trainer facing two felony charges in the alleged nationwide horse-doping conspiracy case, could be the ninth among 28 initially indicted defendants to flip his plea to "guilty" after having requested and been granted a plea-change hearing that on Tuesday got set for Oct. 20. According to court documents, Oakes was the subject of two barn searches and numerous wiretapped phone conversations in 2019 in which he allegedly discussed helping the admitted doper Jorge Navarro procure and administer performance-enhancing drugs [PEDs] to be used on Thoroughbreds....

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PED Formulator Faces Three Years in Prison

The doping conspiracy case that has been winding through the federal court system since March 2020 netted its seventh guilty plea Wednesday when a 63-year-old Massachusetts man with a doctoral degree in cancer-related toxicology admitted to a judge that he mixed formulas that sometimes included steroids and shipped them in unlabeled vials to a Florida veterinarian who allegedly sold them to racetrack clients. By pleading guilty Oct.6 to one count of drug adulteration and the misbranding of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), Jordan Fishman now faces three years in prison and a...

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Trials in Alleged Doping Conspiracy Get Pushed to 2022

Back in May, United States District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil was emphatic about wanting to begin trials in the fourth quarter of 2021 for the first of four groupings of 14 defendants in the alleged federal doping conspiracy case. In late August, she even set a Nov. 15 start date for the trial of Seth Fishman, Lisa Giannelli and Jordan Fishman. But during a Sept. 15 status conference, that schedule got reset to January 2022, meaning that for a number of defendants in the latter groupings, their trials could...

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Think You're a Navarro Victim? Get In Line

Now that the barred Thoroughbred trainer Jorge Navarro has admitted in open court that he doped racehorses and procured performance-enhancing drugs [PEDs] for others between 2016 and 2020, the industry has a $25,860,514 question to kick around between now and when "The Juice Man" gets sentenced Dec. 17. Beyond Navarro's potential five-year prison term and possible deportation back to his native Panama, the 46-year-old conditioner also must pay restitution to victims in that astronomical amount as per the stipulations of his plea bargain. Although it is unclear exactly how federal...

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NYRA, FOX Sports TV Analyst Acacia Courtney Joins Writers' Room

One of the stars of the successful New York Racing Association and Fox Sports daily broadcast from Saratoga, Acacia Courtney joined the TDN Writers' Room podcast presented by Keeneland Wednesday morning. Calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Courtney gave her impressions on the early part of the Saratoga meet and talked strategy when it comes to analyzing the 2-year-old races that are so integral to the programs at the Spa. Asked about the different feeling in the air at tracks this year with fans...

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Servis Seeks to Have Wiretaps Thrown Out

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...

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Rhein Implicates Servis When Switching Doping Plea to 'Guilty'
Rhein Implicates Servis When Switching Doping Plea to 'Guilty'

Kristian Rhein, a suspended veterinarian formerly based at Belmont Park, on Tuesday changed his plea to guilty on one felony count within the federal government's sprawling prosecution of an allegedly years-long conspiracy to dope racehorses. Speaking in open court, Rhein also directly implicated five others, most notably co-defendant Jason Servis, the now-barred trainer who was his regular client and allegedly administered performance-enhancing drugs [PEDs] on practically every Thoroughbred under his control. "I, along with Jason Servis, concealed the administration of SGF-1000 and clenbuterol from the owners by billing for other...

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