Las Vegas Tribune
After months waiting for his day in court, Joaquin Guzman was ready today to tell his side of the story, but the trial was once again delayed, and a new date was not available immediately.
Joaquin Guzman was not allowed to embrace his wife during her visit to the secluded prison he is being held in since arriving in the United States, but yesterday while entering the courtroom he was able to wave and smile to his American-born wife and Mexican beauty queen who was seated in the courtroom under extreme security.
“Juror No. 1 burst into tears last week upon learning she was among the seven women and five men picked as jurors in the trial for Joaquin Guzman, the notorious leader of the dangerous Sinaloa drug cartel” reported Reuter News Agency while covering the opening of the trial.
Sixty-five days short of two years since he has been incarcerated in a New York federal jail, Guzman has been suffering the most inhuman treatment by the federal authorities. He has been denied contact with his family and has only a very limited contact with his legal team.
“I haven’t seen him for 15 months. I only see him in court,” Emma Coronel said in Spanish while flanked by Chapo’s lawyers. “I have no communication with him, no visits or phone calls.”
The 61-year-old Guzman has repeatedly complained about the poor conditions at the notorious Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, where he’s been in solitary confinement and under tight security.
His lawyers have claimed in the past that he was hallucinating and hearing “Mexican music” while sitting in his “frigid cell with dirty sheets” for 23 hours a day.
Manuel Colon Miro, one of the attorneys on the Guzman defense team, asked the judge to allow Guzman “to get a hug” from his wife whom he has not seen since he has been incarcerated in the Manhattan federal jail; “It can be a brief embrace in open court,” wrote attorney Colon Miro in a two-page letter to the court, but the presiding judge, Brian Cogan, denied the request.
Joaquin Guzman, who faces life in prison for allegedly running a drug empire worth billions, retained top Manhattan lawyer Jeffery Lichtman along with two criminal defense attorneys who represented El Chapo’s rival.
Lichtman defended John Gotti Junior, the son of the late Gambino family godfather John Gotti, on charges he ordered the failed hit on radio host Curtis Sliwa in 1992. Each of Junior’s three trials ended with deadlocked juries.
At press time it was unknown if the trial delay is only a short delay or will be a few days longer until a new juror can be found.
A second juror, a self-employed man, also asked to be dismissed Tuesday because of financial hardship, but Judge Cogan refused to toss him.