Wanted: Twelve people who can take four months of work and who do not mind sitting in the verdict of a man said to be the most infamous criminals in the 21st century. Payment: About $ 40 per day.
Choosing a jury is always difficult, but it is even more so when the defendant in the trial is Joaquín Loera Guzmán, the former head of Sinaloa Drug Cartridge, a man accused of catching drugs and having a hand at least 30 murder.
Mr. Guzman – known for the world as El Chapo – is such a terrible figure that earlier this year the judge in the case argued that the jury would be anonymous and would be escorted for their security to and from the court every day by the United States Marshals
However, as the jury elections began on Monday at the Federal District Court in Brooklyn, it was largely smooth sailing as potential jury members seemed to fear a little fear of The man who sat over them was silent but vigilant, in a navy blue suit and a sharp white shirt that was open to his thighs.
With questions about their views On marijuana, their feelings of law enforcement and their fluent in Spanish, only one said she was afraid of Guzman. Another acknowledged that the words “El Chapo” mostly made him think of a bagel sandwich served by a deli near his workplace named for the defendant. A third spent most of his time as he questioned talks about his job as a Michael Jackson impersonator.
Many of the jury members said they recognized Guzman’s name and at least heard that he was an international kingpin who had escaped from two Mexican prisons. Of the 46 people, Monday challenged Judge Brian M. Cogan, 17 were dismissed, most of them because they said they could not be fair to Guzman or because the long trial would cause financial difficulties.
The security was by far tight. The court was guarded by Marshals, local court officer, a bomb-sniffing dog and a heavily armed tactical team of New York City police officers. Precautions like these obviously denied a potential jury member who acknowledged that the prospect of deciding Guzman’s fate caused her to feel “insecure”.
“What scares me is that I read that his family comes after jury members and their families” the woman said. She added that she knew that Mr. Guzman had two sons who were still at large. When a defense attorney asked her if it made her nervous, she acknowledged that it did.
Several prospective lawyers said they were familiar with Guzman from the Netflix series “El Chapo” or had seen their page on Wikipedia, but they seemed largely unaware that he had been burdened almost a decade ago by driving a criminal corporations who smuggled cocaine and heroin in the United States from Mexico in a rotating fleet of cars, lorries, yachts, airplanes and submarines. Mr. Guzman is also accused of protecting his empire by killing – or ordering death by – dozens of people.
Opening arguments are scheduled to begin next Tuesday, provided that a jury has been selected. Prosecutors are expected to offer the epic tale of Mr. Guzman’s rise from a teenage marijuana farmer to a ruthless kingpin who stabbed officials in Mexico and often toted a gold-plated assault rifle. The jury is also likely to hear about his two wavy jailbreaks – at least according to lore, while hidden in a laundry car and the other through a mile long tunnel that his coworker dug into his cell shower.
But observing facts in the heart of the case do not rule out the jury’s selection from time to time into absurdity. It was the jury who noted that his local deli had a sandwich called “El Chapo”.
William Purpura, one of Guzman’s lawyers, wanted to explore this coincidence and asked what just the sandwich was made. It was, as it turned out, a bagel with cream cheese, capers and lox, explained the man.
“I do not know why it’s called” El Chapo “, he said,” but that’s good. “