US court upholds conviction of 'El Chapo' Guzman

·2 min read


The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan on Tuesday upheld the conviction of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who is serving life in prison in Colorado.

The former leader of the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel was convicted in 2019 of conspiracy, drug trafficking, kidnapping, murder and other charges, but has challenged the ruling due to alleged corrupted jurors, Reuters reported.

A Vice News article published shortly after Guzman's conviction cited one anonymous juror saying at least five other jurors were tracking the case through the media and lied to the judge, who told them not to do so. Guzman's lawyer argued the misconduct was enough to overthrow the conviction.

The three-judge panel disagreed with the ten arguments the lawyer presented, with Circuit Judge Jon Newman saying there was no "clear, strong, substantial and incontrovertible evidence" from the Vice News article to prove juror misconduct.

"None of the allegations in the Vice News article shows that any juror was not impartial, harbored bias against Guzman, or was otherwise unfit to serve," Newman said, according to Reuters.

Other arguments presented against the trial included jail conditions Guzman had to endure, which Newman said did not make the trial unfair and were necessary due to Guzman's history of escaping prison.

"I'm sure Mr. Guzman will seek Supreme Court review," Guzman's lawyer Marc Fernich said to Reuters. "We're disappointed that substantial allegations of grave jury misconduct continue to be swept under the rug ... all, it appears, because of the defendant's matchless notoriety."

The appeals court decision comes months after Guzman's wife was sentenced to three years in prison for crimes relating to international drug trafficking, money laundering, and a criminal violation of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

The Hill has reached out to Fernich for comment.

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