During an arraignment held telephonically, trainers Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis and 17 other defendants each pleaded not guilty to charges of horse doping in the U.S. Southern District of New York on Thursday.
Navarro pleaded not guilty to two counts of drug alteration and misbranding conspiracy, while Servis pleaded not guilty to a single count of drug alteration and misbranding conspiracy before Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil.
Thursday's arraignment was originally scheduled for March 23, but was delayed by Judge Vyskocil to allow more preparation time to the coronavirus pandemic.
Navarro was present on the call, while Servis was represented by counsel. They and the other defendants are accused of participating in varying degrees of manufacturing, distributing and administering illegal substances to horses.
Federal investigators allege Navarro operated a “widespread scheme of covertly obtaining and administering various adulterated misbranded PEDs to racehorses under his control.” He’s connected to a lengthy list of blood-building and pain-relieving substances.
After the pleas were filed, U.S. Attorney Andrew Adams told the judge more individuals could be indicted as part of the case, noting "it's something we are certainly considering."
Navarro and Servis have been out on bail since being arrested March 9. They each face up to five years in prison.