El Chapo trial expected to open in NY

'El Chapo' Trial: Trial of alleged drug kingpin to begin in US

'El Chapo' Trial: Trial of alleged drug kingpin to begin in US

Some mentioned they were aware he had escaped from prison in Mexico.

Jury selection began Monday for the US trial of Joaquin Guzman "El Chapo" Guzman with potential jurors, including a self-described professional Michael Jackson impersonator, quizzed about how much they knew about Guzman's reputation as a ruthless drug lord in Mexico.

Jury selection will take place amid tight security conditions reserved only for the most unsafe defendants.

Opening statements are scheduled to begin on November 13.

The only visitors he is allowed are his three lawyers and twin seven-year-old daughters - the judge banned his 29-year-old beauty queen wife, Emma Coronel, from visiting. The defence says the witnesses are the true bad guys whose testimony shouldn't be trusted.

The jurors were called into the courtroom wearing stickers identifying them by number, their names withheld to protect their safety.

At least some of the several hundred witnesses expected to testify are in witness protection programs or are already in jail, housed in special wings to protect them from reprisals. "I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats".

Guzman escaped prison twice in Mexico, once in a laundry basket in 2001 after running the cartel from a cell for seven years.




In one, a voice identified as Guzman's asks, "How much can you get rid of in a month?"

During the trial there will be increased security, including patrols by heavily armed federal agents. Jurors will also be escorted by USA marshals to court daily while remaining anonymous throughout the trial.

One potential juror was excused after she indicated the case made her feel unsafe.

A few months earlier, Guzman gave a widely publicised interview to American actor Sean Penn for Rolling Stone magazine in which he said: "I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world".

After Felix Gallardo was arrested in 1989, Guzman's Sinaloa cartel began its meteoric rise.

Guzman has been held in solitary confinement in NY since Mexico extradited him in January 2017, one day before Donald Trump took office.

The logistical problem for his keepers: The case is being prosecuted across the East River in federal court in Brooklyn.

Meanwhile the Brooklyn Bridge was completely shut to traffic in both directions for his transport from his cell in Manhattan to the Eastern District Federal Court in Brooklyn.

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