Judge denies request to move US trial for ‘El Chapo’
NEW YORK (AP) — A U.S. judge on Tuesday denied a request by notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to move his trial as a way to alleviate the public spectacle created by the intense security measures being used to transport him to court.
The measures have included shutting down the Brooklyn Bridge for a police motorcade taking Guzman from a high-security jail in Manhattan to a Brooklyn courthouse where he’s due to go on trial this year.
At a hearing on Tuesday, Judge Brian Cogan rejected arguments by lawyers for Guzman that the security drill could hurt his chances for a fair trial by giving the public the impression he’s already guilty.
The judge said he wouldn’t publicly explain his reasoning for denying the request to move the case to Manhattan. He said some of the logistical concerns would be addressed, though didn’t go into specifics.
Guzman, who was extradited to the U.S. last year, has pleaded not guilty to charges that his cartel laundered billions of dollars and oversaw a ruthless campaign of murders and kidnappings. He faces life in prison if convicted at a trial that could last several weeks and is set to begin in November.
Authorities have justified the tight security for Guzman by noting that he has twice escaped from prison in Mexico. The second time, it was via a mile-long (1.6 kilometer-long) tunnel dug to the shower in his cell.