“El Chapo”, waiting for the sentence: the keys of a movie trial

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Photographic reproduction of a drawing made by the artist Jane Rosenberg, where the Assistant US Attorney, Amanda Liskamm, appears before the judge of the federal court of Brooklyn, Brian Cogan (c), and the Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán (right), during the hearing held this Thursday in the Southern District Court in Brooklyn, New York (USA). The defense of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera asked Thursday in his final plea of the trial for drug trafficking that the jury "clings" to their doubts about the evidence and testimony provided by the prosecution, of "liars and criminals", and declare Chapo "not guilty". EFE / Jane Rosenberg

The final arguments of the US Attorney’s Office and the defense closed this week in New York the three months of the drug trafficking trial against Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who will now have to wait until Monday for the verdict of a jury that could sentence him to life imprisonment.

These are the keys to what was a trial that in many respects resembles what was narrated in the Netflix series:
CHARGES The Office of the Prosecutor charges the Mexican drug lord with ten charges, although the main one is that of continued participation in a criminal enterprise, which in turn contains the other nine, and which accuses him of having exported to the United States since 2003. tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines.

According to the data handled by the authorities, as a result of said company, “El Chapo” would have obtained a fortune of more than 14,000 million dollars.

With the evidence presented at the trial by 56 witnesses brought by the Prosecutor’s Office, with 14 aid workers related to Guzmán, the US government also intends to confirm crimes related to the possession and use of firearms, as well as the conspiracy to launder money.

Of all these crimes the defendant declares himself “not guilty”.
PENAS AND JURY. The first charge of which is attributed to the Mexican carries the life sentence, if convicted unanimously by the twelve members of the jury.

The identity of the members of the popular jury, seven men and five women, who will begin to deliberate on Monday, has been kept secret for reasons of security, due to the fear that the members of the “Chapo” can take revenge for the decision they take. .

The decision was taken by Judge Brian Cogan, in charge of the case, who ordered the police to escort the members of the court to and from their homes.

The members of the jury attended the testimonies of the witnesses during the three months of the case, although on some occasion, the extensive interrogations and their excessive detail caused that one of them was about to fall asleep.

PRISON. According to sources of the case consulted by Efe, Judge Cogan could contemplate the possibility of sending the Chapo, if convicted, to the federal prison of the State of Colorado, the safest in the country, located in the middle of the desert. During his trial he was in a maximum security prison in Manhattan.

WITNESSES Of the 56 witnesses who paraded before the jury, 14 were former collaborators or partners of the “Chapo”, imprisoned in the US, either because they were arrested in the country, or because they were extradited to US territory.

Among those who testified, some of the people closest to the capo, “right hands” as Vicentillo Zambada-son of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, colleague of the Sinaloa cartel-or an old collaborator named Dámaso López.

They also collaborated with the old prosecutor’s office “secretaries” of the Chapo, like the brothers Jorge and Alex Cifuentes. The latter assured that he paid a bribe of 100 million dollars to the ex-president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, which would have happened two months before he was sworn in as president in 2012.

There were also stories of the “Chapo” escapes from the Puente Grande and Altiplano prisons, both in Mexico, as well as the transportation of cocaine in jalapeño cans. El Chapo came to think of trafficking with a submarine.

Vicentillo told how the “Chapo” narrated his escape aboard a laundry car from the first prison, when a prison worker called “Chito” hid him under blankets and sheets, and Guzmán counted the doors listening to the noises they made.

On the other hand, Lopez explained the flight through a tunnel in the Altiplano jail in 2015, when the capo ordered the construction of said passage so that he could flee from the correctional facility.

The commission of assassinations of competitors and unfair partners, including tortures, was also revealed, which in any case is not part of the charges when judged on American soil.

PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE In its final plea, the Prosecutor’s Office insisted on the “mountain of evidence” that proved the guilt of the Chapo.
Not only the testimonies of the cooperators, but also the specialists of the different security agencies that participated in the captures of the capo or in the investigations.

He explained to the jury that the important thing about the process against Chapo is not to prove if this was the maximum leader of the Sinaloa cartel, but to classify him as a leader, “organizer, supervisor or another position of that organization” to condemn him for drug trafficking.

DEFENDING. The defense summed up its final position attacking the veracity of cooperating witnesses, all of them “liars and criminals”, so it appeals to reasonable doubt not to condemn.

The defenders asked the jury to “cling to their doubts” and declare Guzmán not guilty because, according to his criteria, it has not been proven that “El Chapo” was the leader of the cartel.

Throughout the trial the defense defended that the cartel’s leadership was “El Mayo” Zambada and that “El Chapo” is nothing more than a scapegoat while Zambada is still free.

FAMILY. The young wife of the capo, Emma Coronel, barely missed four days to the multiple sessions of the trial against her husband, 32 years older than her, coming accompanied on occasion by their twins.

Colonel had to face the reading of conversations and love letters that Guzmán sent to his lovers, including the testimony of one of them, Lucero Sánchez, the “Chapodiputada”, who said that the relationship he had with Chapo between 2011 and 2013 It was “a couple”.

On Friday she published an emotional letter in her social networks a few hours after concluding the trial against her husband in which she reiterates her love for him: “she will always count on me”.

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