“El Chapo” will not plead guilty or cooperate, says his defense

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Eduardo Balarezo (c-l), lawyer for Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, speaks with the journalists after the judicial hearing held on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in a court in the Eastern District of New York (United States). EFE

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán will not plead guilty and will not cooperate with the authorities, said his legal defense today, underlining that the drug chief is willing to go to trial from next September 5.

“Mr. Guzmán is not going to plead guilty and will not cooperate with the authorities,” said the lawyer, Eduardo Balarezo, after the court hearing on Tuesday.

El Chapo, dressed in blue uniform and who remained pending during the view of the place where his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, and his two children sat, went to a court in Brooklyn as part of the process he faces for 17 crimes as leader of the cartel of Sinaloa, including drug trafficking, illegal use of arms and money laundering.

During the hearing, the defense of the “Chapo” ratified his request that the trial be transferred from Brooklyn to Manhattan, where he remains imprisoned.
“The court in Manhattan is near the jail,” said Balarezo.

The lawyer complained about the “circus” that is the security device provided by the authorities for the transfer of his client.

“Every time (Guzmán) comes to court they bring him in ten armored cars, with lights, ambulances, it’s a circus, they close the Brooklyn Bridge every day,” added the lawyer, who invited journalists to witness the operation deployed today, which forced to cut several minutes of traffic in the back of the court.

“When the trial begins they will have to do that daily coming and going, it will be an inconvenience for the public, it will hurt him because people are going to say: ‘look how they handle this person, how they transport him because he is dangerous and we have to protect ourselves, “said the defender.

The lawyer assured that the judge is considering that request.

“It will be the same judge, the same prosecutors, the same accused, the same jury, will be everything and will only physically change from Brooklyn to Manhattan,” said the lawyer, adding that his priority is that Guzmán ” be harmed.”

The defense also anticipated that in the next few hours it will present a brief to the judge in which it will justify its request for the Prosecutor’s Office to provide information it said it possessed, according to which its client is not the head of the Sinaloa cartel.

“Most of these tests they have had for several years and just three months before the trial they tell us they have the information, but they do not say what the information is, they do not give us details and we can not use it to defend it,” complained Balarezo.

Emma Coronel Aispuro (c), wife of drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, leaves the court hearing held on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in a court in the Eastern District of New York (United States). EFE

As he explained to journalists, “many of these tests say or people have told the Prosecutor’s Office that Mr. Guzmán was not the boss, that he is not a boss, that he worked under other people.”

“That has to do directly with the main accusation that is participation in a criminal enterprise, that is fundamental for the defense of him,” said Balarezo.

He indicated that “the government has to prove that he was a leader,” but warned that if he has proof that he was not, “the jury has to hear those evidence.”

In addition, the defense required a third psychological evaluation of his client, this time to evaluate the dose of medication he receives.

Also at the hearing, it was defined that no later than August 10, the defense must have a transcript of the statements of the witnesses, and that four days later, on the 14th, a new judicial hearing will be held.

“All the recordings are in Spanish and you have to present them to the jury The jury will not understand Spanish, then you have to transcribe the recordings into Spanish and translate them into English and we want to be sure they are correct,” Balarezo told Efe about his Request to have the testimonies.

Balarezo also confirmed that the beginning of the trial is scheduled for September 5, although he did not rule out asking for a postponement.

“We want to go to trial on September 5, we are prepared to do what is possible for Mr. Guzmán and he also wants to finish with that,” he said.

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