In recent years, there have been a growing number of federal criminal cases involving professional and college sports. Some of the most recent examples include:
- The FIFA racketeering conspiracy and corruption case in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) (https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/nine-fifa-officials-and-five-corporate-executives-indicted-racketeering-conspiracy-and);
- The Nike extortion case in which Michael Avenatti was charged and convicted in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) (https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/michael-avenatti-found-guilty-in-nike-extortion-case/2020/02/14/9620cf16-4dc0-11ea-b721-9f4cdc90bc1c_story.html);
- The NCAA basketball recruiting scheme in SDNY (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/24/sports/ncaa-basketball-adidas-guilty.html); and,
- And now the alleged drug adulteration and misbranding conspiracy charges brought against over two dozen horse racing professionals in the SDNY (https://www.espn.com/horse-racing/story/_/id/28870928/over-2-dozen-horse-racing-professionals-charged-drug-scam).
Prosecutors are attracted to these cases because the people who can be charged are high profile. Because the public pays attention to sports, federal criminal charges involving sports or sport personalities generate instant headlines and attention. They become part of the ESPN, social media, and sports radio news cycle. Prosecutors believe that the more public a case, the greater deterrent effect a prosecution will have. The theory goes that if a criminal case is widely publicized, then sports figures/agents/and others involved in these industries will be less likely to break the law. Federal prosecutors in the SDNY and EDNY seem particularly interested in bringing cases involving criminal conduct related to the sports industry.
Here at Miedel & Mysliwiec LLP, we have a wealth of experience in defending clients in the SDNY and EDNY. In particular, we have specific experience and skill in defending individuals in a variety of sport industries against charges of conspiracy, misbranding, and fraud. We know where to focus our time and resources and we are dedicated to help these clients not only with the legal cases themselves, but also the publicity surrounding them.