The horse doping trial, which begins next week in US District Court for the Southern District of New York, will continue as planned after Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil on Jan. Seth Fishman and Lisa Giannelli had turned it down.
Those two defendants, known in court files as Group I of the three sets charged with related crimes, face conspiracy charges for misbranding and distributing illegal performance-enhancing drugs for use in horse racing. Vyskocil’s ruling came at a pre-trial conference in New York City with lawyers in court. Fishman and Giannelli were allowed to appear by video conference.
Citing what they called sensitive personal information redacted on the trial file, as well as more general concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it could affect the provision of a fair trial, Fishman and Giannelli sought a trial date of 19 January shift. . Instead, their final pre-trial conference was set by Vyskocil on January 18 at 2 p.m. ET.
Group I defendants originally consisted of Jordan Fishman, Seth Fishman and Gianelli, before Jordan Fishman entered into a plea deal admitting guilt on one count of misbranding and counterfeiting and calling for incarceration between 12 and 18 months and a fine. He will be sentenced on February 8.
Jordan Fishman and Seth Fishman are not related, Jordan Fishman told the court last fall.
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Group II defendants included Rick Dane Jr. and Rebecca Linke, but Linke entered into a deferred prosecution agreement on December 21, subject to conditions, leaving Dane alone in a third backup trial date set for March 21, 2022.
Group III defendants include Jason Servis, who appeared at the hearing via videoconference on Thursday, Alexander Chan, Erica Garcia and Michael Tannuzzo. Their cases have not yet been brought to trial.
According to prosecutors, Fishman and Giannelli, through a company called Equestology, specifically targeted customers in the racehorse industry and sold dozens of drugs purported to have performance-enhancing properties.
By pleading guilty last year, Jordan Fishman said he helped formulate such drugs under Seth Fishman’s direction.
“Seth Fishman provided the materials and formula requests, and then I made the solutions consistent with these formulas,” Jordan Fishman said in court proceedings on Oct. 6. “These formulas contained vitamins, amino acids, nutraceuticals and some steroid drugs and anti-inflammatory. I put these in unmarked vials, and in some cases they were shipped overseas, and they were also shipped to Florida. And that shouldn’t have happened. – I take responsibility for that.”
At Thursday’s pre-trial conference, Vyskocil reviewed a nearly 80-page pre-submitted set of jury instructions (called an “indictment”). The charges are subject to review depending on how the trial, which can take up to 18 days, progresses.