Horse Racing

Cohen gets cross-checked as Giannelli takes a trial break for the weekend

The third day of Lisa Giannelli’s horse doping trial on April 29 featured cross-examination by a key government witness.

Former New York harness trainer Ross Cohen testified that Gianelli sold him performance-enhancing drugs that he used to secretly dope horses under his care.

He agreed to cooperate with the government after his arrest in 2020 in connection with the FBI’s sweeping horse doping investigation.

The investigation resulted in allegations against a number of individuals including celebrity trainer Jason Servis.

Under questioning by attorney Giannelli Louis Fasulo in US District Court in New York, Cohen was asked about his partnership agreement in which he admitted to fixing races years ago as well as doping horse.

Fasulo wanted to know if that was his motive for becoming an associate – to avoid being charged with bribery and face a heavier penalty.

“My motivation is to try to correct mistakes and tell the truth,” Cohen said.

When asked further, he said it could be a motive but after that it is unlikely.

Cohen testified: “I guess it could happen. “I didn’t know if that was a motivator at the time.”

Giannelli is on trial for conspiring to distribute adulterated and mislabeled performance-enhancing drugs to improve the performance of racehorses around the country.

She worked with Seth Fishman, a veterinarian convicted in February of producing PEDs purchased by trainers to make dope horses. Prosecutors say Fishman’s drug was designed to avoid post-race testing.

Fasulo told the jury that when Giannelli worked for Fishman out of her home in Delaware, she did nothing wrong because her actions were unrelated to the criminal intent.

Cohen is reluctant to talk about his competitive past under Fasulo’s house, part of an attempt to damage Cohen’s reputation.

At first, Cohen testified that he couldn’t remember how many races he fixed by bribing drivers to keep their horses back.

“It’s more than five, I don’t think it’s more than 20,” he told the jury.

He also can’t remember how many drivers he paid, later admitting, “probably 10”.

When questioned by prosecutor Sarah Mortazavi, Cohen said his cooperation agreement did not prevent prosecutors from other jurisdictions from charging him with bribery.

He has yet to be convicted and said it will be up to the judge to decide his punishment.

The day ended in the afternoon with the prosecution reading the transcripts of a witness from the Mermaid trial.

The witness was Courtney Adams, who worked for Fishman as an office manager for five years. She is not available to testify against Giannelli.

In his testimony, Adams said that Giannelli helped label Fish-Man products. Prosecutors allege that some of those labels violated federal regulations.

“She would suggest tweaks so the customer knows what the product is,” Adams said in his testimony.

During the reading, prosecutors also showed the jury a 2013 document in which Fishman said that Giannelli made more than $250,000 in 2012.

During her cross-examination, which was also read on file, Adams admitted to Fasulo that she didn’t know if that was true.

The trial will continue on Monday.

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

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