NEW YORK (AP) – Lawyers for Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán on Monday presented arguments before an appeals court to overturn the life sentence that a judge imposed on the Mexican drug trafficker in July 2019.
Attorney Marc Fernich told a board of three judges of the Second Circuit court of appeals that Guzmán’s trial was not fair because the confinement to which he was subjected prior to trial prevented him from working effectively with his attorneys in preparing the your defense.
Fernich also said alleged misconduct by jurors should be investigated. A juror told a reporter anonymously in February 2019 that jurors read reports in the media about the case while the trial was taking place. The judge had asked them not to do that, so Fernich said Monday that the jurors violated the judge’s orders.
Guzmán, a former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, was found guilty of criminal association to traffic drugs at the end of the trial. He enjoyed an almost mythical fame after escaping from jail twice in Mexico, the second through an open tunnel in the bathroom of his cell. He was recaptured, extradited to the United States in 2017, and placed in solitary confinement.
His lawyers say that many of the evidence presented at trial is invalid. Some of the newspaper reports that jurors allegedly read, Guzmán’s lawyers say, are about allegations of sexual abuse by Guzmán that were excluded from the trial.
Judge Brian Cogan, who presided over the trial, decided that the evidence of jurors reading media reports was not enough to cancel the trial.
At trial, Guzmán’s lawyers argued that he served as a scapegoat for other drug traffickers who knew how to bribe Mexican politicians and police chiefs to protect them.
According to the appeal, “the prosecution of Chapo Guzmán was altered by excesses and excesses, both governmental and judicial, unnecessary resources if he were really a capo de capos as his opponents insisted.”
Guzmán’s lawyers are calling for a new trial for “El Chapo.”