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El Chapo ‘jury misconduct’ warrants new trial for druglord

A federal appeals court panel is weighing whether to grant Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán a new trial following a 2019 report alleging juror misconduct during the notorious drug kingpin’s drug-trafficking trial.

El Chapo attorney Marc Fernich argued his case Monday afternoon in front of a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.

Fernich focused on a Vice News story, which quoted an anonymous juror who claimed that members of the panel followed news reports about the closely watched case during the trial, lied about it to the judge and were made aware of evidence not introduced — including that Chapo allegedly drugged and raped girls as young as 13 years old.

Fernich argued if the article is to be presumed true, the jury misconduct warrants a new trial for the convicted drug lord. Or, at the very least, a hearing on whether the article should be taken as fact should be held, he argued.

At least one judge on the panel seemed receptive.

“Sounds like not a bad argument,” Judge Gerard Lynch said at Monday’s hearing.

Vice Media offices.
A Vice News story quoted an anonymous juror who claimed that members of the panel followed news reports about El Chapo’s case during the trial and were made aware of evidence not introduced during the trial.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Hiral Mehta, an attorney representing the Justice Department, claimed the argument for a hearing or a new trial should be shot down because the Vice article is “hearsay” and some of the allegations in it are refuted by the trial record.

As an example, Mehta said all of the jurors who saw news reports about Chapo abusing young girls told the trial judge they ignored the information.

“This anonymous juror’s allegation is false,” Mehta said.

El Chapo courtroom sketch.
El Chapo attorney Marc Fernich argued that the jury misconduct alleged in the Vice article warrants a new trial.
Elizabeth Williams via AP

The three-judge panel will issue a ruling in a written memo at a later date.

Chapo was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years following his conviction on a slew of drug-trafficking charges in February 2019.

The diminutive drug boss, who has twice slipped out of prison in Mexico, is serving his time at a supermax prison in Colorado.

About the author

Donna Miller

Donna is one of the oldest contributors of Gruntstuff and she has a unique perspective with regards to Science which makes her write news from the Science field. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from Science. Donna has 3.5 years of experience in news-based content creation, and she is now an expert at it. She loves journalism, and that is the reason, she moved from a web content writer to a News writer, and she is loving it. She is a fun-loving woman who has very good connections with every team member. She makes the working environment cheerful which improves the team’s work productivity.

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