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‘El Chapo’ doesn’t have the “dinero” to hire private lawyers kingpin’s public defenders claim

February 7, 2017  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
‘El Chapo’ doesn’t have the “dinero” to hire private lawyers kingpin’s public defenders claim

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At the end of the last decade, Forbes magazine included him on its list of the world’s wealthiest men, with a fortune estimated at $ 1 billion dollars. Today, Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known as ‘El Chapo’ is claiming ruin.

As a result, the infamous drug lord wants U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill for his defense.

U.S. prosecutors maintain Guzman sat at the apex of the drug trade for three decades, amassing a multi-billion dollar fortune as the leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa Federation Cartel, considered to be the most prolific narcotics trafficking criminal organization in the world.

However, despite his alleged fortune, the accused billionaire drug lord is arguing that he doesn’t have money to hire a private lawyer and must rely on a couple of federal public defenders to provide his legal defense free of charge.

The assertions have U.S. prosecutors Robert Capers, and Arthur Wyatt puzzled and argued against allowing ‘El Chapo’s’  use of public defenders to represent him in the case.

El Chapo appeared for his second hearing Last Friday, February 3rd in Brooklyn Federal Court

“We do not think Mr. Guzman will qualify for this kind of benefit,” the Justice Department attorneys argued during Friday’s hearing in Brooklyn Federal Court.

The alleged cartel leader was extradited to Brooklyn in January to stand trial for a 17-count federal indictment on multiple charges including leading an ongoing organized criminal enterprise, drug trafficking, conspiracy to commit murder, money laundering and arms trafficking.

In a letter sent to District Court Judge Brian Cogan, the U.S. Attorney for Brooklyn’s Eastern District requested the judge investigate the financial situation of ‘El Chapo’.

However, Cogan dismissed the prosecution’s motion and made Guzman’s poverty claim official by ordering him to sign a financial statement declaring it was impossible for him to afford a private lawyer, according to Mexico’s Proceso Magazine.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, 27, wife of alleged drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, looks on as her husband’s attorney Michelle Gelernt speaks to the press Friday outside Brooklyn Federal Court. (JESSE WARD)

“If the government does not think this statement is forthcoming, they should investigate to find out if the defendant has the money to pay for his defense,” the judge said in his ruling.

In addition to a life sentence, the U.S. government are also seeking $14 billion dollars in asset forfeitures, which prosecutors maintain is the product of his illicit criminal activities, according to the 33-page superseding indictment filed in Brooklyn in May 2016.

However, his legal team maintained their client lacks sufficient funds to hire private lawyers, much less will he be able to pay the $14 billion the US government are attempting to seize.

Meanwhile, during Friday’s proceeding, public defense attorney Michelle Gelernt asked Corgan to relax the strict security measures at the Manhattan Correction Center (MCC), which Guzman’s legal team complained are too harsh.

Guzman has remained  jailed at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Facility under heightened security since his extradition  from Mexico in late January

‘El Chapo’ remains under round the clock constant surveillance, is only allowed one hour of exercise and is also prohibited from receiving visitors including his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro who was present during the hearing.

“The government has prevented him from having contact with his family and his Mexican lawyer,” Gelernt said.

“We ask the court for permission allowing Mrs. Guzmán to visit him or talk to him on the phone. She (Emma Coronel) is present but wasn’t granted the authorization to visit her husband. We can’t even give him a glass of water during our meetings,” the defense attorney argued before the judge

However, Cogan chose to leave the matter in the hands of prison officials at MCC citing the drug lord’s two previous escapes from Mexican maximum prisons as one of the primary reasons for the heightened security.

“I will refer to the prison authorities to authorize who can or can not enter. It is evident that they are taking additional security protocols. And we all know the circumstances surrounding why they act with these cautionary measures,” the judge said.

Guzman’s next court hearing is slated for May 5th.

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