Federal prosecutors Monday urged a judge to deny a bid from Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to toss his guilty verdict — arguing that bombshell allegations of juror misconduct didn’t deprive the kingpin of his right to a fair trial.
“The overwhelming evidence supporting the jury’s verdict showed the defendant to be a ruthless, bloodthirsty and cruel leader of the prolific Sinaloa Cartel,” the government writes in their 99-page motion to uphold Guzman’s February conviction for various drug trafficking charges.
The 61-year-old’s lawyers filed a motion for a new trial last month, following an explosive report from VICE News in which a juror said they ignored the judge’s orders to avoid news coverage of the case.
“The defendant’s motion rests entirely upon an anonymously sourced, uncorroborated article published by VICE News eight days after the jury verdict convicting him on all counts following a 12-week trial,” prosecutors’ partially redacted motion reads. “These dubious allegations—which are contradicted by the trial record in material respects and which the Alleged Juror did not bring to the attention of the Court, despite ample opportunity to do so—do not meet the stringent standard of ‘clear, strong, substantial and incontrovertible evidence’ required for a post-verdict evidentiary hearing.”
The papers go on to tell Brooklyn federal court judge Brian Cogan that, “even if the allegations are true,” he should still deny the motion without questioning jurors and alternates who served on the historic trial.
“As the VICE News Article raises no concern that the defendant is innocent and that the jury wrongfully convicted him, a new trial is not justified,” says the document.
Guzman was convicted in February of operating a continuing criminal enterprise and other charges and faces life behind bars when sentenced.