Conviction of Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’ should be thrown out, lawyer argues

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NEW YORK, Oct 25 (Reuters) – A law firm for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman urged a U.S. appeals court docket on Monday to overturn the Mexican drug kingpin’s conviction, citing juror misconduct and the jail ailments that Guzman seasoned.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan appeared receptive to the argument that Guzman’s trial choose in Brooklyn should have inquired into whether or not jurors improperly followed the situation in the media in the course of the blockbuster demo.

It was fewer sympathetic to a assert that Guzman’s conviction was tainted by 2-1/2 years of solitary confinement in the because-closed Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, which his attorney Marc Fernich known as a “fashionable dungeon.”

Guzman, 64, was convicted in February 2019 of trafficking billions of pounds of medication and conspiring to murder enemies, as a leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.

He is serving a lifestyle sentence at Colorado’s Supermax, the most secure federal prison, and was requested to forfeit $12.7 billion.

Guzman’s attraction targeted on a Vice News article in which an unnamed juror stated at least five fellow jurors adopted media coverage of the trial, and lied about it to the presiding judge, U.S. District Decide Brian Cogan.

The coverage provided a claim that Guzman had drugged and raped teenage ladies, which Guzman’s lawyers have denied.

“You (have) 5 jurors who will not know the this means of an oath,” Fernich stated. “If that would not cry out for quick inquiry, I don’t know what does.”

Federal prosecutor Hiral Mehta countered that courts should not toss out convictions primarily based on anonymous juror claims to on the net retailers.

“The proof below is not capable, it can be just not,” Mehta stated.

At least two members of the three-choose appeals panel advised it wasn’t as clear minimize.

“(If) we believe the district courtroom was incorrect to say ‘taking all this as genuine it nonetheless will not make a difference,’ then that undercuts a substantial component of your abuse of discretion argument,” Circuit Choose Gerard Lynch told Mehta.

In distinction, the panel questioned why Guzman didn’t item much more forcefully and quicker to jail conditions he described at his sentencing as “psychological, emotional, mental torture 24 hours a working day.”

Circuit Choose Jon Newman told Fernich: “To convey to me he is an escape threat has incredibly minor if something to do with irrespective of whether his confinement prevented him from communicating with his lawyers.”

Guzman experienced 2 times escaped highest-stability prisons in Mexico, as soon as even though hidden in a laundry cart and at the time by crawling by a tunnel dug into his mobile, prior to being recaptured in a bloody gun battle in 2016.

His wife, former beauty queen Emma Coronel Aispuro, 32, pleaded guilty in June to encouraging run his drug empire. She could encounter a 10 years in prison at her Nov. 30 sentencing. read through far more

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York Enhancing by Nick Macfie