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US judge delays ‘El Chapo’ trial two months to November

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AFP |

The US judge overseeing the case against Mexico’s Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, accused of running one of the world’s biggest criminal drug empires, on Monday delayed his trial 60 days.

Jury selection will begin on November 5, rather than September 5 as previously scheduled. It was the second time Judge Brian Cogan has ordered a delay, with the trial originally expected to have begun in New York last April.

The defense requested the latest delay 10 days ago, arguing that thousands of new documents produced by US government lawyers working for the prosecution made it impossible to be ready in time.

The US judge overseeing the case against Mexico’s Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, accused of running one of the world’s biggest criminal drug empires, on Monday delayed his trial 60 days.

On Monday, Guzman’s lawyer Eduardo Balarezo expressed dissatisfaction that the delay was not more substantial. Guzman, he said, was “highly disappointed.”

“Given the immense amount of information dumped upon the defense… Mr Guzman thought a five-month continuance was appropriate,” Balarezo said in a statement.

“He believes that the prosecution is purposely playing games in an effort to deny him a fair trial and trusts that an impartial jury will see through the smoke and mirrors at trial.”

In a motion filed on July 6, Balarezo said the US government had just produced a massive number of audio files — 117,000 — and 1,125 pages of documents, along with pictures and video.

The defense requested the latest delay 10 days ago, arguing that thousands of new documents produced by US government lawyers working for the prosecution made it impossible to be ready in time.

Guzman, 61, is accused of running the Sinaloa crime syndicate and has been held in New York since being extradited to the United States on January 19, 2017, after twice escaping from prison in Mexico.

He faces 17 charges. If convicted he is likely to spend the rest of his life in a maximum security US prison. Earlier this month, Mexico said it had extradited to the United States a potentially “key witness” — Damaso Lopez, known as “The Lawyer” and once allegedly Guzman’s right-hand man.

© Agence France-Presse

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