Jury deliberations began May 5 in the federal horse doping trial for Lisa Giannelli.
A jury of eight men and four women took the case to US District Court in New York later in the day and discussed it for about 30 minutes before going home in the evening.
Their discussions continued on May 6.
Before leaving court, the jury requested a large batch of government exhibits and transcripts of testimony from government witness, Conor Flynn. He is a former assistant belt trainer who became a cooperating witness after being arrested in a related horse doping prosecution.
Giannelli, of Felton, Delaware, was charged with conspiracy to distribute mislabeled and adulterated performance as well as enhancing drugs that prosecutors allege were used by corrupt trainers to make horse hooves.
Prosecutors allege she participated in the conspiracy while working at a Florida company called Equestology owned by veterinarian, Dr. Seth Fishman. The doctor was convicted at his own horse doping trial in February.
During Thursday’s final argument, prosecutor Sarah Mortazavi described Giannelli as Mermaid’s “trusted partner” at Equestology.
But defense attorney Louis Fasulo countered that Giannelli was merely a Fishman’s employee who did what she was told.
“At no point did Mermaid say to her, ‘You can’t do that,’” Fasulo said during his review.
“Lisa Giannelli was a high school student who relied on her boss, did her job as directed, and no one told you it was wrong,” he said. “There was no one from inside. No one from outside. ”
Fasulo continued, “What was her intention? Is she acting in good faith? She did the right thing. “
He argued that Giannelli had acted in good faith without criminal intent.
Fasulo also told jurors he would not tell them the coaches did not use drugs bought from Giannelli “illegally”.
But he said it was their decision, not Giannelli’s.
He argues that at the track there is a “supreme coach rule” that says the trainer is ultimately responsible for any medication administered to their horses.
“Not in favor of Lisa Giannelli,” Fasulo said.
If a coach wins $60,000, his client gains nothing,” he argued. She has no money in her wallet.
“What she wanted to do was get the best job possible for Seth the Mermaid and work 16 hours a day,” Fasulo told the jury.
He argued that the government had failed to prove that Giannelli intended to defraud the racing commission. Intent was a constitutive element of the crime for which Giannelli was charged in the indictment against her.
But to refute Fasulo’s argument, Mortazavi told the jury that the government had to shoulder more of its burden in determining Giannelli’s crime.
The government called 12 witnesses and presented dozens of pieces of evidence, including emails, text messages, wiretapped phone calls, and photos. Prosecutors also presented physical evidence seized by the FBI during a search of Fishman’s business and Giannelli’s residence.
She considers it incorrect to say that Giannelli has no stake in races won by doping coaches obtained from Equestology and Giannelli.
Mortazavi told the jury: “Trainers who win races buy more drugs. “Trainers who don’t get caught buy more drugs.”
She added, “All the talk of who’s the leader of Equestology, who’s the vet, who’s making more money is just a distraction.”
Another distraction is the defense that Giannelli never instructs a trainer on how to take a horse stimulant before a race, Mortazavi said.
The prosecutor said: “The defendant had needles, drugs and instructions on how to treat a horse on race day and ensured that they would not be caught.
Mortazavi began the final argument discussing criminal intent and how she said it involved Giannelli.
She said one proof of intent to deceive and deceive is the untestability of the Fish-Man drug. They are designed to avoid detection during post-race tests, she said.
She points to an exchange of messages between Giannelli and Fishman. Giannelli writes that a customer was asking about a particular drug and Fishman replied, “yes it but it’s experimental.”
Giannelli knows that’s important for coaches who like to cheat.
She said additional evidence of that intent was the lack of any labels on some of the products.
“It’s not labeled as untraceable,” Mortazavi said, pointing to an illegal blood builder known as BB3. A government expert has endorsed BB3 enhancing a horse’s performance.
But Fasulo told the jury that the expert could still know what the drug was, even without the label.
“If she knows, who is Miss Giannelli cheating on,” he said.