More potential ‘El Chapo’ jurors excused for safety fears

Blanche Robertson
November 9, 2018

Twelve jurors and six alternates were selected Wednesday to decide the fate of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, one of the most notorious criminals in the world, on trial in NY for smuggling drugs into the United States over a quarter of a century.

Emma Coronel Aispuro (L), the wife of El Chapo, listens as attorney Michelle Gelernt answers questions from reporters outside the US Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn after a hearing in the case of Joaquin Guzman February 3, 2017 in NY.

Guzman, dressed in a blue suit and blue shirt, took notes and appeared attentive, but has otherwise been impassive during jury selection.

Guzman has pleaded not guilty to charges, including overseeing a violent drug cartel known for violence and escaping Mexican jails twice. He was extradited to the United States from Mexico on January 19, 2017, after escaping twice from Mexican prisons before being captured again.

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Several potential jurors who expressed security concerns were dismissed earlier this week, as was a man who admitted asking for Guzman's autograph and a Michael Jackson impersonator, for fear that he was too identifiable. The 12 jurors and six alternate jurors eventually chosen will remain anonymous and be escorted to and from court by armed federal marshals during the trial, which is expected to last up to four months.

One of them was a young woman, whom the judge said had cried profusely in the hall, saying that her mother had told her "we've got to move and get a new house".

"She's anxious the pressure on her mother will be injurious to her health", said Cogan, before dismissing her. They include a man and a woman said they are fluent in Spanish and a man who's a retired corrections officer.

The prosecution objected and the defense argued he should stay, but Cogan dismissed him. When asked why the man replied: "I'm a bit of a fan".

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