More potential ‘El Chapo’ jurors excused for safety fears

Postado Novembro 09, 2018

Notoriously lonely Mexican cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman just wants a hug.

The notoriety has prompted security measures that include keeping the jurors anonymous.

Guzman, 61, watched from a table in the courtroom with his lawyers, wearing a dark suit and tie in place of the open-collared dress shirt he sported Monday.

This week, a defence lawyer asked the judge to allow Guzman's wife to embrace him in court before opening statements.

On Wednesday, Guzman was awaiting for word on whether he can hug his wife for the first time in almost two years.

They noted that El Chapo has not had any contact with Emma Coronel Aispuro for two years since his arrest and has not been able to see, call, or write to her while in solitary confinement.

The judge has not ruled on that.

"The only human contact Mr. Guzmán has had since his extradition has been with the jail personnel when putting and removing his shackles, and a quick handshake from his attorneys when he goes to court", the request says.

The man, whose identity is withheld along with all potential jurors under the rigorous security arrangements surrounding the trial, was born in Colombia but has spent the last 20 years living in NY.

Most of the people picked either for the jury or to serve as six alternates said in initial screening that they had heard of Guzman through news reports or TV shows.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan, who is overseeing the case, said another woman told him privately, in tears, that her mother, with whom she lives, said they would have to "move and get a new house", drawing a laugh from Guzman.

The 12 include at least three immigrants and three who speak Spanish fluently.

The prosecution objected and the defense argued he should stay, but Cogan dismissed him.