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04 October 2023

El Chapo to seek new trial over jury misconduct, lawyer says

Photo: AP


Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman - convicted earlier this month of trafficking crimes spanning a quarter-century - plans to request a new trial following media reports of jury misconduct, his lawyer announced Friday.

It comes after Vice News published an interview on Wednesday with a member of the jury who alleged multiple jurors defied orders not to follow media coverage of the three-month trial, research it online, or communicate with anyone about the case.

"Mr. Guzman intends to file motion for a new trial based on the disclosures in the article," Eduardo Balarezo wrote to the Judge Brian Cogan, adding Guzman would also request a hearing to determine the extent of juror misconduct.

The juror interviewed did not give their name or gender, nor did they confirm if they were one of the 12 jurors involved in deliberations or one of six alternates.

Former Sinaloa cartel chief Guzman, who faces life in prison, was found guilty on February 12 of smuggling tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the United States. He is scheduled to be sentenced in June.

Usually, a motion for a new trial must be filed within 14 days of a verdict, but Balarezo's letter also requested an extension of 30 days from February 26.