Feds delay case against doc's assistant

Updated: January 11, 2010, 8:09 PM ET
By Mike Fish | ESPN.com

A scheduled Tuesday court appearance for Mary Anne Catalano, a former assistant to a controversial Canadian doctor who has treated a bevy of elite athletes, including Tiger Woods, has been extended until March 12 in U.S. District Court in Buffalo.

Catalano was arrested Sept. 14 at the U.S.-Canadian border near Buffalo after federal agents searched her car and found ampules of misbranded drugs, including human growth hormone, syringes and miscellaneous medical supplies. She told authorities that the supplies belonged to her Toronto-based boss, Dr. Tony Galea, who was subsequently arrested on drug-related charges by Canadian authorities. Galea is also under investigation by the FBI office in Buffalo and health officials in Florida, where he reportedly was without a license when he treated Woods.

After being stopped at the border in September, the 32-year-old Catalano waived her rights and acknowledged to agents that she knew it was "illegal" to attempt to bring the items into the U.S. and that she did so at the request of Galea, who she said had been flagged previous times at the border. Her Toronto-based attorney, Calvin Barry, said Catalano has been cooperating with Canadian authorities as well as with the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

She could possibly shed significiant light on the source of the illegal substances as well as which, if any, athletes used banned drugs.

Galea, who already faces Canadian charges involving HGH and Actovegin, a derivative of calf's blood, has a client list that includes former Canadian Olympic gold medalists Donovan Bailey and Mark McKoy, as well as other prominent American professional athletes. The doctor has in the past acknowledged personally using HGH himself and in the treatment of some patients, though vehemently denying it use in his caring for athletes.

On Monday, a sealed affidavit by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul J. Campana accompanied the request to extend the date for consideration of dismissal of charges against Catalano until March 12. Campana refused to discuss the supporting affidavit, telling ESPN.com: "I wouldn't give any explanation other than what is in writing."

Barry said of his client's rescheduled March 12 appearance: "It is just to see where they are with the investigation and decide whether they are going to go ahead and set a trial date -- resolve it, withdraw it. There are a number of options that could happen."

Mike Fish is an investigative reporter for ESPN.com.

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