Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman once ruled the world’s most powerful drug cartel — now he’s pleading just to be allowed to do paperwork from his jail cell.
A defense attorney for the kingpin filed court documents Sunday saying Guzman wants to sign an unspecified “civil contract” but first needs the Department of Justice’s OK — and the feds have been ignoring the request.
“This civil document is not related to the defense of his criminal case, but is nevertheless necessary to conduct legitimate civil business, as is his right,” attorney Michael Lambert told Brooklyn federal court Judge Brian Cogan in a letter.
The attorney told the judge he first put in a request with US Attorney Richard Donoghue’s office on Jan. 23, and got a response three days later “indicating that the Government was not opposed” but needed to consult with others in the department — but since then, phones, emails and even in-person inquiries have “gone unanswered.”
“I am therefore asking the court to compel the US Attorney’s Office to respond to this issue in a timely manner. The document itself is a short and uncomplicated. Given the Government’s vast resources, any analysis of the document for security concerns should have been completed by now,” Lambert wrote.
Cogan on Monday ordered the government to respond.
Guzman is behind bars at the Manhattan Correctional Center awaiting sentencing after a jury found him guilty of running a massive drug-trafficking operation earlier this month.
Lambert did not immediately return a request for comment.