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El Chapo’s lawyer barred from bringing cellphone to court

No Sanctions taken against El Chapo’s wife for illicit cellphone use

December 20, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A defense attorney for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has been barred from bringing a cellphone to court from now on, but his wife Emma Coronel Aispuro (pictured) was not punished. Eagle photo by Paul Frangipane
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One of the defense attorneys for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman will no longer be allowed to bring a cellphone into the courthouse after a judge ruled in favor of a motion by prosecutors after she was caught passing the phone off to El Chapo’s wife last month.

Hon. Brian Cogan, U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of New York, ruled that defense counsel Mariel Colon Miro cannot bring a cellphone into the courthouse for the remainder of the trial.

In a court order issued on Thursday, Judge Cogan ruled that he was granting the government’s motion because the defense counsel violated the Special Administrative Measures put in place because of the defendant’s notoriety, violated a civil rule that prohibited the use of cellphones in the courthouse and displayed a lack of candor to the court when addressing the issues.

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“As an initial matter, and as is discussed above, Ms. Colon [Miro] gave the court incomplete and misleading affidavits, which she failed to supplement after informing the court that she would,” Judge Cogan wrote. “She also made several similarly incomplete and misleading representations on the record.”

The ordeal started on Nov. 20 when a court officer spotted Emma Coronel Aispuro using a cellphone in the courthouse, which she was not allowed to do. The U.S. Marshals Service then informed the court of the incident and added that they have observed her bringing four other cellphones into the courtroom and actively using them during the trial, according to the judge’s order.

In sidebar, Colon Miro explained that another defense attorney, Michael Lambert, gave El Chapo’s wife his phone to use Google Translate in the cafeteria, the judge’s order said.

The government then reviewed security footage from the courthouse and found that El Chapo’s wife had used a cellphone in the courthouse on Nov. 19 when she was alone, without defense attorneys nearby. Their explanations did not appease judge Cogan due to their inconsistencies.

“Defense counsel may not have any knowledge of how Ms. Coronel obtained a cellphone or why she was using it on Nov. 19th and 20th, 2018,” Cogan wrote. “But if that were true, the court does not understand why defense counsel did not just say so, and their omissions reflect poorly on them. Their failure to appreciate the seriousness of this issue is naïve at best.”

While Colon Miro may not bring a cellphone into the courthouse again, no actions were taken against El Chapo’s wife as prosecutors were forced to modify their original motion due to lack of evidence that she was contacting Guzman as prosecutors initially alleged.

The trial for the alleged drug kingpin is in its second month. Due to the high profile of the case, extra security measures have been in place throughout the trial. Magnetometers have been placed immediately outside the courtroom, people are banned from bringing electronics inside, and precautions have been taken to ensure the anonymity of the jurors and even some testifying witnesses.

Guzman is the alleged former head of the Sinaloa drug cartel. He’s been charged with using violence and intimidation to export thousands of pounds worth of drugs into the U.S. including in the Eastern District of New York where he is being tried. As part of the extradition agreement with Mexico, U.S. prosecutors cannot seek the death penalty.


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