Horse Racing

Giannelli defense statement Lack of criminal intent

Day 2 of Lisa Giannelli’s horse doping trial in a New York courtroom began April 28 with opening remarks and ended with the testimony of a former mining trainer turned employee. government cooperation.

“The defendant is not only in the doping business, she is also in the business of deception,” prosecutor Benjamin Gianforte told the jury in U.S. District Court in New York.

But defense attorney Louis Fasulo countered by saying her client could not be found guilty because her actions had no criminal intent.

“Intention,” he wrote in large letters on the computer screen for a jury of eight men and four women to read.

Fasulo said intent is the crux of the case. “What were Lisa Giannelli’s intentions? Why did she do what she did?”

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Giannelli is challenging government evidence against her in a case that arose from the federal government’s crackdown on horse doping at racecourses around the country.

Defendants including celebrity trainer Jason Servis face trial in early 2023.

Giannelli is on trial for conspiring to violate federal law that prohibits the preparation or mislabelling of drugs.

In his foreword, Gianforte said that for more than two decades, Giannelli had illegally distributed performance-enhancing drugs that corrupt trainers used to make horses addicted.

He said the drug clearly violated racing regulations.

But that doesn’t stop the cheaters, he said.

“Why? Because fast horses win money,” said the prosecutor.

Gianforte said the drugs Giannelli sells are sought after because they are designed not to show up during post-race testing.

“Professional equestrianism is highly competitive,” the prosecutor said. “Win high profits.”

Those things create a huge temptation to deceive and defraud others, he said.

“That’s what doping is considered to be – cheating,” he said.

Gianforte never mentions an important person: veterinarian Seth Fishman, who manufactured the drug Giannelli sold at racetracks and training centers. Her clients are mainly harness trainers.

In February, Fishman was found guilty of conspiracy.

Fasulo told the jury that Giannelli would testify that she did nothing wrong.

“She’ll tell you what she did and why she did it,” he said. “We’re not hiding from that.”

He told the jury that horse racing is a sport in its purest sense and that “the way it’s driven will suit people in the sport.”

He said the trial was not about PED or horse racing or whether animals should be drugged. And he said it wasn’t about Fishman “with motives of his own which he kept secret” from Giannelli.

“At no point did he tell her she did anything wrong in carrying out his orders,” he said. “She’s not a vet; she’s not a doctor.”

The collaborator was Ross Cohen, who stood behind when an FBI agent and an FBI photographer testified about law enforcement searches conducted at Giannelli’s home in Felton, Del., on 2020 and at Fishman’s warehouse in Boca Raton, Fla, in 2019.

Cohen was arrested in 2020 during a major government takedown. He has since pleaded guilty as part of a cooperation agreement with the government.

Cohen, 50, testified that he purchased the performance-enhancing blood thinner from Giannelli while he was training horses in New York.

Under questioning by prosecutor Sarah Mortazavi, Cohen said Giannelli had told him he should have given his horse medication on race day even though it would have violated race rules.

“She said they don’t test it at this point, but there’s no guarantee they won’t always,” he testified.

He says testability is important to him.

“I don’t want suspensions and fines and owners losing their wallets,” Cohen said.

Earlier in the day, prosecutors showed the jury a 2016 document Giannelli sent Fishman that mentioned Cohen.

“Propanthelene bromide? Ross Cohen is asking about it,” wrote Giannelli.

“Yes but it’s experimental,” Fishman replied.

Cohen testified that the substance is a bronchodilator that increases the airways of horses.

He tells Mortazavi that he doesn’t remember talking to Giannelli about it.

His testimony continued on April 29.

Leading industry publications Thoroughbred are working together to cover this important trial.

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