Summary: El Chapo’s attorney promised that the accused drug czar will not murder jurors involved in his criminal trial.
It may be nerve-racking to be a juror on the El Chapo criminal trial, but his lawyer has made the assurance that the accused drug cartel boss will not murder them, according to Fox News.
El Chapo, real name Joaquin Guzman, is facing numerous federal charges for murder and drug trafficking. He was extradited from Mexico, and his trial is scheduled for September in New York.
Jury selection is currently underway at Brooklyn Federal Court, with Justice Brian Cogan presiding. Citing El Chapo’s history of murdering witnesses, prosecutors asked that jury members remain anonymous and receive armed guards that will secure them from a secure location to court. His attorney, A. Eduardo Balerezo, said that this will unfairly give jurors the impression he is dangerous and guilty.
“[Giving jury member’s special protections] sends the message that he or she needs to be protected from Mr Guzman. From there, members of the jury could infer that Mr Guzman is both dangerous and guilty,” Balarez wrote in a court filing.
The trial is expected to last for months, according to The Independent. So far, the judge has not ruled on El Chapo’s motion.
This month, El Chapo was indicted for directing “a large scale narcotics transportation network involving the use of land, air, and sea transportation assets, shipping multi-ton quantities of cocaine from South America, through Central America and Mexico, and finally to the United States.” According to the indictment, profits were “laundered back to Mexico.”
Prosecutors said that El Chapo hired hit men who were responsible for “murders, assaults, kidnappings, and acts of torture.”
After escaping from a Mexican prison, the powerful drug kingpin had been in hiding in the jungle when he had granted actor Sean Penn and actress Kate del Castillo an exclusive interview in 2015. Penn had wrote up his encounter for Rolling Stone, and after it was published, authorities found and arrested El Chapo.
The Penn-El Chapo ordeal was discussed in del Castillo’s Netflix documentary “The Day I Met El Chapo,” which implies that Penn had led authorities to the wanted kingpin. Penn is now in a legal battle with the streaming company, stating that the documentary could get him killed.
American authorities said that there was no chance that El Chapo would escape their prisons like he had done in Mexico. In Mexico, he shockingly used a tunnel from his bathroom in a maximum-security prison.
“He’s about to face American justice. … And I assure you, no tunnel will be built leading to his bathroom,” Angel Melendez, an agent for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement investigations in New York city, told NPR.
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