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Fifth time is no charm, as El Chapo trial begins jury selection on Monday

Brooklyn judge warns that this is not a murder trial

October 30, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Attorneys for Joaquin Guzman Loera, pictured in blue wearing headphones in the courtroom sketch, tried for the fifth time to delay the start of the trial, which will begin with jury selection on Monday. Eagle sketch by Shirley and Andrea Shepard

After five failed attempts to delay the start of the trial by defense attorneys, potential jurors from the Eastern District of New York will begin the process of jury selection on Monday as the trial for Joaquin Guzman Loera, the alleged drug kingpin better known as El Chapo, will officially begin.

Defense attorneys made another effort to delay the trial, claiming that they needed more time to review the 14,000 documents that were turned over to them by prosecutors on Oct. 5.

The documents relate to key witnesses in the trial that are expected to testify. They are all in English, so lawyers have to translate each one into Spanish so they can discuss them with Guzman and prepare for trial.

Attorneys brought the 14,000 pages of documents into court this week in order to prove their point. However, U.S. District Court Judge Brian Cogan explained that both sides were under a lot of pressure to prepare for the trial, which is expected to last approximately four months.

Judge Cogan declared that the opening statements for the trial will begin on Nov. 13 regardless of when jury selection finishes so that if gets wrapped up early they could potentially have extra time to prepare.

Defense attorneys did get a break in court this week when Cogan warned prosecutors that he wasn’t presiding over a murder trial and reminded them that Guzman was being charged with trafficking drugs.

Prosecutors have a list of 33 murders that are allegedly tied to Guzman that they intend to present evidence of at trial to demonstrate that he used violence to run his operation. The judge warned that prosecutors could potentially be cut off if he feels like testimony is getting off topic.

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“This is a drug conspiracy case that involves murders,” Judge Cogan said. “I’m not going to let you try a murder conspiracy case that happens to involve drugs.”

 

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