Recaptured drug lord Joaquin

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

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

    The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court docket of Appeals in Manhattan appeared receptive to the argument that Guzman’s trial decide in Brooklyn should have inquired into whether or not jurors improperly adopted the case within the media through the blockbuster trial.

    It was much less sympathetic to a declare that Guzman’s conviction was tainted by 2-1/2 years of solitary confinement within the since-closed Metropolitan Correctional Heart in Manhattan, which his lawyer Marc Fernich known as a “modern dungeon.”

    Guzman, 64, was convicted in February 2019 of trafficking billions of {dollars} of medicine and conspiring to homicide enemies, as a frontrunner of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.

    He’s serving a life sentence at Colorado’s Supermax, probably the most safe federal jail, and was ordered to forfeit $12.7 billion.

    Guzman’s attraction centered on a Vice Information article the place an unnamed juror mentioned no less than 5 fellow jurors adopted media protection of the trial, and lied about it to the presiding decide, U.S. District Choose Brian Cogan.

    The protection included a declare that Guzman had drugged and raped teenage ladies, which Guzman’s attorneys have denied.

    “You (have) five jurors who don’t know the meaning of an oath,” Fernich mentioned. “If that doesn’t cry out for instant inquiry, I don’t know what does.”

    Federal prosecutor Hiral Mehta countered that courts should not throw out convictions based mostly on nameless juror claims to on-line shops.

    “The evidence here is not competent, it’s just not,” Mehta mentioned.

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

    “(If) we think the district court was incorrect to say ‘taking all this as true it still doesn’t matter,’ then that undercuts a large part of your abuse of discretion argument,” Circuit Choose Gerard Lynch advised Mehta.

    In distinction, the panel questioned why Guzman did not object extra forcefully and sooner to jail circumstances he described at his sentencing as “psychological, emotional, mental torture 24 hours a day.”

    Circuit Choose Jon Newman advised Fernich: “To tell me he’s an escape threat has very little if anything to do with whether his confinement prevented him from communicating with his lawyers.”

    Guzman had twice escaped maximum-security prisons in Mexico, as soon as whereas hidden in a laundry cart and as soon as by crawling by means of a tunnel dug into his cell, earlier than being recaptured in a bloody gun struggle in 2016.

    His spouse, former magnificence queen Emma Coronel Aispuro, 32, pleaded responsible in June to serving to run his drug empire. She may face a decade in jail at her Nov. 30 sentencing. learn extra

    Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Modifying by Nick Macfie

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