Saratoga County

Sentencing today for mountain bike champ

Friends and family of former downhill mountain bike champion Melissa “Missy” Giove are asking a fede

Friends and family of former downhill mountain bike champion Melissa “Missy” Giove are asking a federal court judge in Albany for leniency in Giove’s marijuana trafficking sentencing, set for this morning.

The requests come in the form of letters to the court from Giove’s mother, spouse, other relatives and even a former mountain biking team manager.

Some of the letters cite Giove’s many injuries, including head injuries suffered on a downhill mountain bike racing circuit where speeds could reach 65 mph, as possibly clouding her judgment. They also cite good deeds she has done over the years and give possible motivation for her getting involved in the enterprise.

The letters come as federal prosecutors plan to ask U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe to sentence Giove to 24 to 30 months in prison, based on federal guidelines.

Giove, 38, of Chesapeake, Va., was arrested along with Eric Canori in June 2009 in Wilton, accused of making a high-stakes transaction involving approximately 350 pounds of marijuana, trucked by Giove from California to Preserve Way in Wilton.

Federal Drug Enforcement Agency officials confiscated the marijuana, as well as $1.47 million in cash, at the Wilton home.

Canori is to be sentenced in January. Another co-defendant, Robert Reinfurt, was sentenced in August to time served.

Giove, who won several national downhill mountain bike racing titles some years ago, pleaded guilty to only one of the several charges on which DEA agents arrested her.

Giove was represented by lawyer Tim Austin, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday. A defense sentencing memorandum was not available.

A prosecution memorandum, filed earlier this month, carries the prosecution’s recommended 24- to 30-month sentence, along with at least four years of post-release supervision and a $25,000 fine.

Sharpe is to hand down the final sentence this morning.

The prosecution’s memorandum says the proposed sentence is appropriate, given that “the defendant’s criminal activity was not an isolated incident, rather it continued over a span of at least several months.”

Prosecutors also say Giove’s intention to join the conspiracy “was presumably based upon a desire to make money.” She also profited from the trafficking, though to a lesser extent than some co-conspirators, prosecutors wrote.

The letters of support come from Giove’s mother, spouse, two uncles, an aunt, four cousins, two friends and a former team manager.

Giove’s spouse, Kristen D. Hofheimer Giove, cited the long list of injuries Giove suffered on the downhill mountain biking circuit, including a brain hemorrhage, a broken pelvis and more than 30 other bone fractures.

Hofheimer Giove cited a traumatic brain injury as causing difficulties with Giove’s thought processes, memory and judgment.

“Missy has a sweet naivete which has often worked to her detriment,” Hofheimer Giove wrote. “Missy’s kindness led to her giving away just about everything that she had, from her earnings as a successful professional athlete to her savings, her inheritance, and even her treasured heirlooms and personal property to try to help other people, until she had nothing left.”

Giove then got involved in the marijuana trafficking to help fund an ex-girlfriend’s legal fight, Hofheimer Giove wrote.

Giove’s former team manager, Jennifer Prosser, also cited Giove’s head injuries as possibly impairing her judgment, adding that Giove had always been anti-drug for as long as she has known her.

“It is just so uncharacteristic of the Missy that I have known for 20 years to get involved in something like this,” Prosser wrote.

Categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply