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El Chapo had unauthorized contact with wife

Security is so stringent that Guzmán was not even allowed a brief hug with Coronel

El Chapo had unauthorized contact with wife
Emma Coronel - Photo: Kena Betancur/EFE
English 27/11/2018 13:29 Reuters New York Brendan Pierson Actualizada 13:31
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U.S. prosecutors claimed that a lawyer for Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who is currently on trial in a Brooklyn federal court, helped arrange unauthorized contact between the Mexican drug lord and his wife, Emma Coronel.

In a motion filed before 2 a.m., the prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan to impose sanctions on Guzmán’s defense team.

Prosecutors said that some people, whose names were redacted, “appear to have used cellular telephones in concert with an attorney visit to the defendant following two trial days last week to facilitate unauthorized and, under the SAMs, impermissible contact between the defendant and Ms. Coronel.”

Security is so stringent that Guzmán was not even allowed a brief hug with Coronel.

On Monday, Cogan said that Coronel had been seen using a cell phone in the courthouse, which is not allowed under court rules. In a private sidebar conference that afternoon, one of Guzmán’s lawyers told the judge that Coronel had been using Google Translate on a cell phone last week to understand the proceedings because the headset she normally uses to listen to an interpreter was not working.

Cogan accepted what he called the “innocuous explanation,” and prosecutors did not raise any further concerns, according to a transcript of the conference.

However, prosecutors said in Tuesday’s motion that their new claims were based on a review of footage from multiple courthouse surveillance cameras. Details about what that footage showed were redacted.

In the trial, expected to last up to four months, prosecutors are seeking to prove that Guzmán sent massive shipments of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine into the United States as leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.

Guzmán, 61, faces 17 criminal counts and a possible sentence of life in prison. He has been subject to exceptionally tight security protocols, known as special administrative measures or SAMs, thanks to his two escapes from high-security Mexican prisons and what prosecutors have described as a history of intimidating witnesses.

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