Federal Defendants File Motion Asking Judge To Recuse

The defendants in the ongoing federal drug adulteration and misbranding case have filed a letter motion asking the presiding judge in the case to recuse herself. U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil will consider the motion during a previously-scheduled status update in the case on May 14.

Attorneys for the defendants say Vyskocil has previously bred Thoroughbred racehorses and on four occasions was the breeder of a horse which ran against starters from defendants Jason Servis or Jorge Navarro. Court documents indicate that in two of those four races, the horse bred by Vyskocil finished better than the defendant’s starter. Three of those starts were made by one horse, Here’s Ya Souvenir, who was sold at auction as a 2-year-old and apparently no longer belonged to Vyskocil at the time of those starts. The other start came from Last Boat Home, who made the start in question while owned by Dreamland Racing.

Vyskocil bred both horses in partnership with Barry Ostranger, who the defense points out is a member of The Jockey Club. Jockey Club principals have been outspoken about the organization’s role in the investigations which led to these indictments, and of their desire for serious punishment for the defendants.

Those races took place, according to court documents, between 2006 and 2009 — well before Vyskocil took the bench in the Southern District of New York.

Prosecutors filed a motion in opposition of the defense’s request this week, questioning why it took the defense a year to make these connections between Vyskocil and hinting that this revelation could be related to a number of motions that had not gone in the defendants’ favor. The government argues that judges do not have to recuse themselves from cases simply because they have some interest in a relevant industry, but only if those interests directly involve a person or legal issue at play. They also point out that Vyskocil didn’t stand to gain financially from any of the four races in question against Navarro and Servis because they either took place outside New York state (where the horses were bred) or involved a horse that was not registered with the New York breeder incentive program anyway.

Vyskocil is expected to address the recusal motion during Friday’s conference.

The post Federal Defendants File Motion Asking Judge To Recuse appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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