Drug Lord El Chapo’s Lawyer Argues Anonymous Jury Unnecessary and ‘Extremely Unfair’

January 24, 2018 Updated: October 5, 2018    

As Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán stands trial, his lawyer said there’s no need to keep the jury anonymous. It would even be unfair, he argued.

Brooklyn federal prosecutors have requested on Jan. 5 for the jurors in Guzmán’s case to be anonymous and partially sequestered because “the defendant has a history of interference with the judicial process (e.g. two dramatic prison escapes; history of employing ‘sicarios,’ or hitmen, against potential witnesses)” and also because “the defendant has the means to interfere with the judicial process; and this case has drawn intense media scrutiny,” The New York Daily News and Borderland Beat reported.

By “partially sequestered” the prosecutors mean the jurors would be transported to and from the courthouse by the U.S. Marshals Service and kept isolated and hidden from public inside the courthouse. “Anonymous” means the jurors’ names, addresses, and specific places of employment won’t be revealed to the parties and the press.

Guzmán’s lawyer Eduardo Balarezo protested, saying such measures would “create the extremely unfair impression that [Guzmán] is a dangerous person from whom the jury must be protected.”

The attorney for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Eduardo Balarezo, talks with the media after a hearing outside Brooklyn Federal Courthouse in New York on Nov. 8, 2017. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

Guzmán was arrested on Jan. 8, 2016, by Mexican marines and Federal Police following a shootout in Los Mochis, Sinaloa. He was extradited to the United States on Jan. 19, 2017.

Drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is escorted into a helicopter at Mexico City’s airport on Jan. 8, 2016. (Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images)
Mexican soldiers stand guard as a Mexican Air Force plane which is allegedly carrying Joaquin Guzman Loera aka “El Chapo” Guzman takes off at the International Airport in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on Jan. 19, 2017. (Herika Martinez/AFP/Getty Images)
Mexican Air Force plane which is allegedly carrying Joaquin Guzman Loera aka “El Chapo Guzman” at the International Airport in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on Jan. 19, 2017. (Herika Martinez/AFP/Getty Images)

Guzmán faces 17 criminal counts that include money laundering, drug trafficking, kidnapping, and murder.

His criminal enterprise has allegedly smuggled over 440,000 pounds of cocaine to the U.S.

Guzmán faces a minimum sentence of a life in prison.

He’s detained at the Federal Prison in Brooklyn under “special administrative measures”— he can’t talk to the press; he can’t have visitors, except for three visits from his young twin daughters; he can’t make phone calls, except for two monitored 15-minute calls per month from his mother and sister; and he can’t meet privately with his attorney.

Security agents guard the US Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, where the arraignment of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is expected to take place on Jan. 20, 2017. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

His trial is scheduled for September.

 

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