El Chapo’s lawyers want new trial, saying jurors followed media coverage

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Attorneys for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán are calling for a new trial for the drug kingpin, claiming the jurors who convicted him were improperly following news coverage of the trial.

Guzmán, who escaped from a Mexican prison in 2015 before being recaptured and extradited to the United States the next year, was convicted in February on charges including drug trafficking, money laundering and murder.

Guzmán will not be sentenced until June but his Continuing Criminal Enterprise conviction carries a mandatory life sentence without possibility of parole.

{mosads}In a legal brief filed Tuesday, attorneys for Guzman pointed to a February report from Vice News that said at least six jurors consumed news coverage of the case in violation of court instructions.

This exposed them to prejudicial material not submitted in evidence, including claims that Guzmán raped underage girls and that one of his lawyers had an extramarital affair with an ex-client, according to attorneys Jeffrey Lichtman and Marc Fernich.

“If a justice system’s measure is how it treats the most reviled and unpopular, when ours may have failed Joaquín Guzmán by denying him the fair trial before an untainted jury to which he’s constitutionally entitled,” Guzman’s attorneys wrote. “Because sunlight is the best disinfectant, that prospect merits serious consideration, close investigation, and a new trial, as appropriate.”

Update, 4:16 P.M.: A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York declined to comment on the motion.

Tags El Chapo New trial Vice

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