In Rolling Stone, Sean Penn quotes Joaquin Guzman as saying: "I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana than anybody else in the world." Now Guzman's lawyer wants Penn to "testify to respond about the stupidities he has said," arguing the actor made up that quote and others in which Guzman boasts of laundering money. "It's a lie, absurd speculation from Mr. Penn," Juan Pablo Badillo tells Reuters, noting Guzman is "a very serious man, very intelligent" and knows better than to incriminate himself. "He could not have made these claims," Badillo says. "Where's the proof? Where's the audio?" Penn, in his article, notes he was not allowed to record the interview. He was later supplied with 17 minutes of video responses, but such comments aren't included.
According to leaked text messages, Guzman had no idea who Penn was until a week before their meeting. "Tell him, that the actor Sean Penn has a very relevant message for him," reads one text to Guzman, per Milenio and the Guardian. "This actor, as an interesting fact, is the most famous in the US." Later, Guzman asks, "What's this actor called?" A lawyer responds: "Sean Penn. The one who made the movie 21 Grams." Guzman was, however, very familiar with Penn's contact, Mexican actress Kate del Castillo. "Tell Kate when she comes we'll drink tequila and dance," he texted his lawyer. "I'm telling you that I am more excited about you than the story," he added to del Castillo. "How beautiful you are, amiga, in all aspects." He ended their conversations with te quiero, a phrase commonly used among friends, meaning "I love you."