SARATOGA SPRINGS – Thoroughbred trainer Chad Brown pleaded guilty to a reduced non-criminal charge of harassment in Saratoga City Court on Monday, closing the books on a case that began when he was arrested in the midst of the Saratoga Race Course meet this summer.
Brown was facing an ‘A’ misdemeanor charge of obstruction of breathing from an alleged domestic violence incident at his home on the night of Aug. 17. The Saratoga County district attorney’s office offered the lesser charge of harassment in the second degree, a violation, that was acceptable to the defense, thus avoiding a trial.
Brown, a Mechanicville native who has won the Eclipse Award as most outstanding trainer in North America four times since 2016, will have to undergo an evaluation by an accredited behavioral health professional, needs to stay arrest-free for a year and is subject to a two-year order of protection that prohibits him from contacting the alleged victim.
Brown was in attendance, but did not speak to the media afterward.
Through his attorney, Matthew Chauvin of Ianniello Anderson, P.C., Brown issued this statement:
“While I’m satisfied to put this unfortunate incident behind me and pleased that as a result I will not have a criminal record, I regret details of my personal life being made public through the media. For this, I apologize to my family, friends, clients, and coworkers. I can and will do better in the future. I greatly appreciate all who have supported me throughout this ordeal.”
Brown spent a night in jail and was arraigned on the morning of Aug. 18 before Judge Vero.
He pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of breathing and was released on $2,500 bail.
By Labor Day, Sept. 5, he had won his fourth straight Saratoga meet title for most training victories.
After three postponements of a second appearance in City Court, the case remained ongoing while the investigation and discovery process continued.
On Monday, Saratoga County assistant district attorney Rachael Phelan told Judge Vero that the reduced charge “is an appropriate disposition based on some difficulties that may arise at trial in terms of witness statements and certain evidence.”
Chauvin said he was prepared to take the matter to trial and was confident of an outcome in Brown’s favor, but that Brown decided to accept the lesser charge.
“A non-criminal outcome is always a favorable disposition for the defendant,” Chauvin said. “Let’s be honest, with juries, you don’t control the outcome. So I can be as confident as I want to be about how likely we would be to be successful at a trial, but I don’t control the people that are in that box.
“It’s strangers that you’re trusting your fate to. This gives us a known outcome, it’s non-criminal, it’s an adjudication in favor of the defendant, and he can now focus on his family, his business and get back to doing what it is that he does.”
Judge Vero included a carve-out to the order of protection, since the alleged victim also works at the New York racetracks, that allows for incidental contact. But otherwise, Brown is prohibited from any form of intentional contact, including phone texts and third-party communication.
“He had no desire to have contact with her before this incident, and certainly has no reason to now,” Chauvin said. “The language the judge used was ‘incidental contact.’ That’s all it would be.”
Brown must complete an evaluation with a certified health provider by Jan. 6, and the judge said the court would monitor any recommended treatment for up to a year. Brown was fined $250 with a $120 surcharge.
“The evaluation is something the judge added to make sure that she could be comfortable with the disposition,” Chauvin said. “We get it. It’s fine. It’s not something we’re going concern ourselves with.”