Jury set for deliberations at US trial of El Chapo

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman faces life in prison if convicted

After nearly three months of testimony about a vast drug-smuggling conspiracy steeped in violence, a jury is due to begin deliberations Monday at the U.S. trial of the infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

A federal judge in Brooklyn is set to give instructions to jurors in the morning before asking them to begin deciding the verdict for Guzman, who faces life in prison if convicted.

The jury has heard months of testimony about Guzman’s rise to power as the head of the Sinaloa cartel. Prosecutors say he’s responsible for smuggling at least 200 tons of cocaine into the United States and a wave of killings in turf wars with other cartels.

READ MORE: Closing arguments in trial of Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’

Guzman, 61, is notorious for escaping prison twice in Mexico. In closing arguments, Andrea Goldbarg said he was plotting yet another breakout when was he was sent in 2017 to the U.S., where he’s been in solitary confinement ever since.

The defendant wanted to escape “because he is guilty and he never wanted to be in a position where he would have to answer for his crimes,” Goldbarg said. “He wanted to avoid sitting right there. In front of you.”

The defence claims Guzman’s role has been exaggerated by co-operating witnesses who are seeking leniency in their own cases. In his closing, defence attorney Jeffrey Lichtman assailed the case as a “fantasy” and urged the jury not to believe co-operators who “lie, steal, cheat, deal drugs and kill people” for a living.

Last week, newly unsealed court papers revealed disturbing allegations not heard by the jury — that Guzman had sex with girls as young as 13. A Colombian drug trafficker told investigators the kingpin paid $5,000 to have the girls brought to him, and that he sometimes drugged them, the papers say.

READ MORE: US trial to tell epic tale of Mexican drug lord “El Chapo”

The unsealing of the documents came at the request of The New York Times and Vice News. U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan had ordered prosecutors to review the material — originally sealed because it was deemed unrelated to the drug charges — and make portions of it public within four days of the government resting its case against Guzman.

Guzman’s attorneys said their client denies the allegations.

Tom Hays, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Blaze consumes dwelling in Masset

The Masset Fire Department received the first call around 8 p.m.

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

Skeena Watershed reopened for recreational pink and coho

Four sections and tributaries remain closed

Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidates react to finding Trudeau broke ethics law

The election campaign is heating up before the writ has even dropped

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read