nigeria news

Drug baron El Chapo to stand trial April 2018

By  | 
El Chapo to stand trial

The trial of Mexican drug baron Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was set for spring next year by a New York court on Friday.

Judge Brian Cogan set the start date for April 16, 2018 at a preliminary hearing at the Eastern District of New York court in Brooklyn, a day after he rejected requests from Guzman’s lawyers to loosen the strict rules of his confinement.

Guzman was extradited from Mexico to the United States to stand trial earlier this year on charges including running a criminal enterprise and other drug trafficking-related crimes as leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.

His lawyer Michelle Gelernt told reporters his solitary confinement was having a negative effective on his mental and physical health as well as making preparation for his trial difficult.

“Right now we have to sit in a booth that either has plexiglass which is very difficult to hear through or a small screen with holes, it’s certainly not a way that somebody can prepare to go through thousands and thousands of documents or listen to thousands of hours of recordings,” she said.

Judge Cogan said he would consider the request to find a different place to meet, and acknowledged this was a “cumbersome” way to prepare a trial, but noted the “the mere movement of him out of the SHU into some other area where prisoners are allowed to meet with counsel … raises security issues.”

Guzman was captured by Mexican authorities in his home state of Sinaloa in January 2016 after seven months on the run, following a spectacular jailbreak through a tunnel accomplices had dug to his cell.

If convicted, Guzman faces life in prison. Under the terms of his extradition agreement, the US has agreed not to apply the death penalty.

His lawyers are also pursuing the argument that he should have been extradited to California or Texas for trial, rather than New York.

Guzman is being represented by public defenders paid for by the state as the US government has failed to locate his assets or money.

His wife Emma Coronel, who was also present at the hearing, was “very upset about the news she won’t be able to see or speak to her husband unless it’s in a public courtroom,” Gelernt said.

The trial is expected to last two to three months, Judge Cogan said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *