Notorious drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán wants to move his fall trial to another venue because, he claims, his flashy motorcade from a Manhattan jail to Brooklyn federal court could be prejudicial to potential jurors.
El Chapo, 61 — who is accused of running the massive Sinaloa drug cartel that trafficked tons of narcotics into the US — heads to trial in September and will have to be transported each day from Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center to the courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn.
The diminutive drug lord’s lawyers say that during his commute to the courthouse, he is brought in a multi-car motorcade with “marked and unmarked police cars, armored cars, and other emergency response vehicles,” and the Brooklyn Bridge even gets shut down while he crosses from Manhattan to Brooklyn.
“Mr. Guzmán has now made seven court appearances, each directly exposing countless of New Yorkers and potential jurors to this spectacle and inconveniencing thousands more by the traffic disruptions created,” court documents state.
El Chapo’s lawyers either want his case to be transferred to a federal court in Pennsylvania or to Manhattan federal court, noting, “The proximity between the MCC and [the Manhattan federal] courthouses would allow for the secure transfer of Mr. Guzmán to and from court without the current prejudicial spectacle of a multi-vehicle armed convoy and the closing of the Brooklyn Bridge.”
El Chapo — accused of running the drug ring that sparked a violent 10-year-long drug war in Mexico — was extradited to the US last year after having spent a year on the lam following his escape from a tunnel the led out of his Mexican jail cell.
Last month lawyers agreed to increase the jury pool from 450 to 1,000. The jurors’ identities will be kept confidential.
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