Assistant 'just doing her job' transporting drugs: Lawyer

JOE WARMINGTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:59 AM ET

TORONTO -- In her five years of working as Dr. Anthony Galea’s assistant, Mary Anne Catalano had highlights such as meeting Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez and other top athletes.

She also spent two days in jail and faces a court date in Buffalo next month charged with one count of felony smuggling.

It has been a roller coaster ride for the 32-year-old Etobicoke resident who is said to be “shaken” by the crazy turn of events in her life.

Today the university-educated Catalano no longer works for the doctor, who was charged Wednesday by the RCMP with “selling an unapproved drug, conspiracy to import an unapproved drug, conspiracy to export a drug and with smuggling goods into Canada.”

Galea, 51, the high-profile “healer” to the stars who runs the Institute of Sports Medicine Health and Wellness Centre on Brown’s Line, will have his first appearance in Old City Hall courts tomorrow.

But this story started Sept. 14th at the Peace Bridge on the Canada/U.S. border.

A court affidavit claims a Nissan Rogue Catalano was stopped and searched by U.S. authorities who found inside “20 vials, 101 syringes, and 76 ampoules, of unknown misbranded drugs, including Nutropin, a medical centrifuge and an ultrasound computer.”

American media reports quote court documents saying Catalano told the agents if questioned at the border she had been instructed to say she was heading to a “medical conference.”

The documents also say after waiving her rights she told border agents “she knew the items that she was bringing into the United States were illegal and that she was doing this for her employer.”

But her Toronto lawyer says not only is his client innocent of any crime he believes “at most” she could end up as a witness at a potential future trial of her former boss.

“She was an assistant to the doctor and was just doing her job,” prominent Toronto attorney Calvin Barry told Sun Media, adding she is “co-operating with authorities” and feels “she’s done nothing wrong.”

Galea’s attorney Brian Greenspan has also said his client is innocent of any wrong doing and is looking forward to be being “vindicated.” None of the charges against either have been proven in court and there is no allegation the substances obtained at the border have a connection to any athlete. “The Canadian investigation is centering on the doctor smuggling Actovegin into and out of Canada,” Sgt. Marc LaPorte of the RCMP is quoted saying in The Buffalo News. “It’s not centering on any specific athletes.”

Galea, nicknamed the Miracle Man, told the New York Times earlier this week he had treated Woods at his Florida mansion at least four times using “blood spinning” techniques.

A source close to Catalano tells Sun Media she has accompanied Galea to Woods home while he treated the embattled golf great for his knee injury. The source says the Sept. 14 incident had no relation to Woods and that Catalano told authorities her destination was in fact Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, Barry said his client has been inundated with requests to appear on American television but she would not do that at this time. “Her case is still before the courts,” he said.

He would not comment on a U.S. justice source indicating that while being detained for two days in a Buffalo jail his client was upset that no one from her former employer came to assist her or bail her out. The source said she felt she had been given the “kiss off” and left “all alone.”

Perhaps one day in the future, whether it’s in a courtroom or otherwise, Mary Anne Catalano will tell her fascinating story.

joe.warmington@sunmedia.ca


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