Drug lord El Chapo shouldn't get new trial | News Coverage from USA

Drug lord El Chapo shouldn’t get new trial

NEW YORK — Convicted Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán should not receive a new trial because his arguments claiming a tainted jury are not provable, federal prosecutors argued Monday.

Guzmán remains jailed under tight security following his February conviction on charges of drug trafficking, weapons possession and usage, and operating a criminal enterprise – a verdict that means he faces an automatic sentence of life imprisonment. He is described in a federal legal memorandum filed Monday as “one of the world’s most notorious criminals.”

Prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York filed the legal arguments in response to a post-trial motion in which attorneys for Guzmán contended that potential jury violations and prejudice prevented the former Sinaloa drug cartel leader from receiving a fair trial.

The defense team cited a Vice News report just after Guzmán’s conviction that said at least six jurors from the anonymous panel violated the court’s instructions by actively following social media and other coverage of the internationally-watched case.

“The defendant’s motion rests entirely upon an anonymously sourced, uncorroborated article published by Vice,” prosecutors wrote Monday. “The defendant cites to unsworn hearsay and double-hearsay allegations in the Vice news article made by an alleged juror or alternate juror.”

Defense lawyers argued the alleged violations enabled jurors to learn about and potentially be influenced by details of prejudicial material that was not admitted in evidence. The material included a former drug lieutenant’s claim that Guzmán drugged and raped young girls, plus news reports that one of the defense lawyers allegedly had an adulterous affair with a former client, the defense team claimed.

Jurors who convicted Guzmán on all counts in February should be questioned about the reported violations during an evidentiary hearing that would include written or oral questions from the defense team, attorneys March Fernich and Jeffrey Lichtman contended.

But prosecutors argued Monday that the “dubious allegations” are contradicted by the trial record. The alleged juror also did not bring any of the concerns to the attention of the judge in the case, despite ample opportunity to do so, they wrote.

“There is no indication that any juror lied to the court to conceal any purported bias against the defendant,” the memorandum says. “As the Vice article raises no concern that the defendant is innocent and that the jury wrongfully convicted him, a new trial is not justified.”

 

 

 

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