Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil

Servis Negotiating with Feds for Plea Bargain

The barred trainer Jason Servis, the final--and most notoriously prominent--defendant awaiting a trial or sentencing in the 2020 racehorse doping conspiracy scandal, is negotiating with federal prosecutors for a plea bargain agreement to adjudicate the three felony drug misbranding and fraud conspiracy charges he is facing for allegedly drugging almost all the Thoroughbreds under his care in 2019. The disclosure was revealed late Friday afternoon in an otherwise routine court filing asking for an extension of time to file motions in Servis's upcoming trial, which has a Jan. 9 start...

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With Trial Looming, Chan, Former Vet for Servis, Now Wants to Change Plea

Seven weeks before the start of the final remaining high-profile trial in the federal doping conspiracy case from 2020, the New York-based veterinarian Alexander Chan, whose client list included co-defendant trainer Jason Servis, has changed his mind about having a jury decide his fate on three felony charges for alleged participation in drug adulteration, misbranding, and wire fraud conspiracies. On Thursday, Chan asked for and was swiftly granted a Dec. 5 change-of-plea hearing in United States District Court (Southern District of New York), at which he will likely either plead...

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Florida Vet Garcia Wants Plea Change to Avoid Doping Trial

Erica Garcia, a Florida-based veterinarian, broke off her longstanding business relationship with the now-imprisoned trainer Jorge Navarro in early 2019. But she remained in contact with other conspirators of the Thoroughbred doping scheme that Navarro-and numerous other racetrackers-would later admit to. So when federal investigators began compiling evidence that led to a nationwide series of arrests in a widespread racehorse drugging crackdown in March 2020, Garcia was considered fair game for her alleged role in the pipeline of purportedly performance-enhancing drugs. Charged with two felony counts involving conspiracies to commit...

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Judge Says No to Fishman Conviction Dismissal

A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request by prison-bound veterinarian Seth Fishman to dismiss Count One of his two racehorse doping conspiracy convictions. Fishman, whose 26 months as a defendant have been hallmarked by minor courtroom dramas, various attempts to prevent or delay the trial, and accusations that he continued to peddle purported performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) while free on bail, had argued that he was tried twice for the same crime because the first count was contained within the second, much broader conspiracy. Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil of United...

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The Week in Review: Just What is Jason Servis Thinking

A Jan. 23 trial date for the Jason Servis case was announced last week, which means in about eight months there will be some closure and Servis will learn his fate. The way he has handled things, it seems that he is at least somewhat optimistic that he will be found not guilty. If so, he is deluding himself. Everything about this case says that he has virtually no chance of being acquitted. Which raises a question: why is he fighting this when it makes far more sense to go...

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Guilty Verdict for Lisa Giannelli

The federal government's crackdown on horse doping notched another courthouse win May 6 with a jury finding Lisa Giannelli guilty of conspiracy to misbrand and adulterate drugs after an eight-day trial. The jury of eight men and four women in U.S. District Court in New York returned the verdict after less than two hours of deliberations spanning two days. Giannelli, 55, of Felton, Del., faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison at her sentencing Sept. 8 before Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil. The jurors rejected Giannelli's testimony in which...

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Giannelli Trial Continues

Lisa Giannelli testified at her horse doping trial May 4 that she had a good reason for wanting to testify in her own defense. "To tell my story," she told the jury in U.S. District Court in New York. She is on trial on a conspiracy charge, accused of assisting veterinarian Seth Fishman in the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs that prosecutors say were used by corrupt trainers to dope racehorses in violation of racing regulations. During three hours of questioning by her attorney Louis Fasulo, Giannelli, who admitted being nervous...

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Lisa Giannelli Trial Begins

Jury selection kicked off April 27 in the trial of a Delaware woman who prosecutors say helped veterinarian Dr. Seth Fishman supply illegal performance-enhancing drugs to trainers who used them to secretly dope horses to win races. By day's end, a jury of eight men and four women was sworn in to hear the case against Lisa Giannelli in U.S. District Court in New York. Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil scheduled opening statements for Apr. 28. The government has two FBI agents lined up to testify as their first witnesses. Giannelli...

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Chris Oakes Sentenced to Three Years

NEW YORK--Standardbred trainer Chris Oakes, who has admitted to supplying Jorge Navarro with performance- enhancing drugs as well as using illegal drugs with his own horses, was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday. In October, Oakes, 57, pled guilty to one count of misbranding and drug adulteration with intent to defraud or deceive. The decision was handed down by Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York before a small audience that included Meadowlands owner Jeff Gural. Under the sentencing...

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Harness Trainer Dane Enters Guilty Plea

Harness trainer Rick Dane Jr. became the latest of the indicted trainers, veterinarians and others in the federal investigation into racehorse doping to enter a guilty plea in federal court on Thursday, and has been ordered to pay a monetary judgement of $33,912. Dane accepted a government plea deal on Friday, Feb. 11, and changed his plea from not guilty to guilty. The agreement was made between Dane, his attorney, U. S. Attorney Damian Williams, and U. S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil. Several of the defendants who originally pled...

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Harness Trainer Dane Accepts Government Plea Deal

Harness trainer Rick Dane Jr., one of the 27 people indicted by the federal government on charges of doping racehorses, has accepted a plea offer from the government and his case will now not go to trial. The news was delivered in a Friday, Feb. 11 letter from United States attorney Damian Williams to Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil. "The Government writes on behalf of the Government and defense counsel for Rick Dane, Jr., the defendant in the above-captioned case, to alert the Court that the defendant has accepted a plea...

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Fishman Trial Enters Homestretch

New York federal prosecutors in the horse-doping trial of Dr. Seth Fishman neared the finish line Jan. 28, bringing their case to a close after calling 11 witnesses and presenting evidence from FBI wiretaps. "At this time the government rests its case," prosecutor Anden Chow told U.S. District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil on the trial's eighth day. A short time later, the defense rested their case without calling any witnesses or putting the accused veterinarian on the stand to testify. Without the jury present in the Manhattan courtroom, Vyskocil...

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