Jury set for deliberations at US trial of El Chapo

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman faces life in prison if convicted

After nearly three months of testimony about a vast drug-smuggling conspiracy steeped in violence, a jury is due to begin deliberations Monday at the U.S. trial of the infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

A federal judge in Brooklyn is set to give instructions to jurors in the morning before asking them to begin deciding the verdict for Guzman, who faces life in prison if convicted.

The jury has heard months of testimony about Guzman’s rise to power as the head of the Sinaloa cartel. Prosecutors say he’s responsible for smuggling at least 200 tons of cocaine into the United States and a wave of killings in turf wars with other cartels.

READ MORE: Closing arguments in trial of Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’

Guzman, 61, is notorious for escaping prison twice in Mexico. In closing arguments, Andrea Goldbarg said he was plotting yet another breakout when was he was sent in 2017 to the U.S., where he’s been in solitary confinement ever since.

The defendant wanted to escape “because he is guilty and he never wanted to be in a position where he would have to answer for his crimes,” Goldbarg said. “He wanted to avoid sitting right there. In front of you.”

The defence claims Guzman’s role has been exaggerated by co-operating witnesses who are seeking leniency in their own cases. In his closing, defence attorney Jeffrey Lichtman assailed the case as a “fantasy” and urged the jury not to believe co-operators who “lie, steal, cheat, deal drugs and kill people” for a living.

Last week, newly unsealed court papers revealed disturbing allegations not heard by the jury — that Guzman had sex with girls as young as 13. A Colombian drug trafficker told investigators the kingpin paid $5,000 to have the girls brought to him, and that he sometimes drugged them, the papers say.

READ MORE: US trial to tell epic tale of Mexican drug lord “El Chapo”

The unsealing of the documents came at the request of The New York Times and Vice News. U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan had ordered prosecutors to review the material — originally sealed because it was deemed unrelated to the drug charges — and make portions of it public within four days of the government resting its case against Guzman.

Guzman’s attorneys said their client denies the allegations.

Tom Hays, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Three projects on the North Coast awarded funding

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Hagensborg Water District purchases new fire truck; prepares for conversion to CCRD

Approximately $1.3 million of the district’s infrastructure grant has been transferred to the CCRD.

Nuxalk Nation receives over $4 million in funding for Big House

The funding is joint federal, provincial and municipal and will support 24 infrastructure projects

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Limit police access to lethal weapons in Indigenous communities: Justice Summit

Grassroots-organized National Indigenous Justice Summit was a free-to-attend two-day videoconference

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Large rogue floating ‘island’ corralled by Lac la Hache residents

At least 60 feet wide, this large mass of plants is free-floating on the lake

B.C. ports part of data integration project to protect marine ecosystems

The $1.2 M federally funded program will draw crucial baseline data from Canada’s three coastlines

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Most Read