El Chapo’s lawyers appeal his U.S. conviction

A U.S. judge sentenced “El Chapo” to life in prison plus 30 years 

El Chapo’s lawyers appeal his U.S. conviction
Joaquín “El Chapo” was the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in the world - Photo: Rebecca Blackwell/AP
English 06/09/2020 13:25 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City AP, EFE, AFP Actualizada 13:33

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Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán wants his U.S. conspiracy conviction thrown out.

His lawyers filed an appeal on Friday, arguing that a judge made rulings allowing a jury to hear faulty evidence at his trial. It also cites reports that before reaching a guilty verdict, some jurors sought out news accounts about sex abuse allegations against him that were barred from the trial.

Prosecutors declined to comment on Saturday.

“El Chapo” Guzmán was sentenced to life behind bars in 2019 for a massive drug conspiracy that spread murder and mayhem for more than two decades.

Recommended: El Chapo was once as powerful as Mexico's president 

Before the federal case, he had attained near-mythical status by escaping from maximum-security prisons in Mexico, the second time through a tunnel dug into the shower of his cell. He was recaptured and extradited to the United States in 2017 and put in solitary confinement.

During his trial, Joaquín Guzman’s lawyers argued he was the fall guy for other kingpins who were better at paying off top Mexican politicians and law enforcement officials to protect them.

“Chapo Guzmán’s prosecution was marred by rampant excess and overreach, both governmental and judicial – needless resorts if he was really the kingpin extraordinaire his adversaries insisted,” the appeal says.

Some of the arguments made by the lawyers include improper extradition, tough solitary confinement measures, and graphic evidence against the drug lord

According to journalist Alan Feuer, the appeal filed by El Chapo’s lawyers includes 10 arguments for a new trial.

Lawyer Mariel Colón Miró said the appeal process could take between two and five years. 

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán is set to spend the rest of his life at a maximum-security prison in Colorado, named the Administrative Maximum Facility. 

Recommended: Never-before-seen video shows the life of 'El Chapo' Guzmán inside a Mexican prison

El Chapo’s trial

EL UNIVERSAL reported the drug trafficker was sentenced to life in prison on July 17, 2019.

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the notorious Mexican drug lord, was found guilty of running a murderous criminal organization that smuggled tons of drugs into the United States.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan imposed the sentence of life plus 30 years, which was mandatory under the law, at a hearing in a federal court in Brooklyn. Guzmán was also ordered to forfeit USD 12.6 billion, prosecutors said.
 
Back in February 2019, Guzmán was found guilty of trafficking tons of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana and engaging in multiple murder conspiracies as the top leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, known as one of Mexico’s largest and most violent drug cartels.

Guzmán developed a reputation as a Robin Hood-like figure that made him a folk hero to many in his home state of Sinaloa, where he was born in a poor mountain village.

Before the sentence was handed down, Guzmán claimed that his confinement amounted to “mental torture” and alleged that the jurors on his case allowed media accounts of the trial to influence their thinking.
 
“The United States is no better than any other corrupt country,” Guzmán said, adding that prosecutors wanted to send him to “a prison where I will never be heard from again.”
 
U.S. prosecutors have claimed that Guzmán sold more than USD 12 billion worth of drugs, and Forbes magazine once listed him as among the world’s richest men.

Despite Guzmán’s downfall, the Sinaloa Cartel had the biggest U.S. distribution presence of Mexican cartels as of 2018, followed by the fast-growing Jalisco New Generation Cartel, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

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