'El Chapo' Is Not Happy About US Jail Conditions

His lawyers say he's denied visits
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2017 8:02 AM CST
Emma Coronel Aispuro, wife of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, talks with reporters as she leaves Brooklyn federal court on Friday.   (Elizabeth Williams)
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(Newser) – Lawyers for Mexican drug cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman complained about his strict jail conditions in the US during a court appearance Friday. Guzman's common-law wife, beauty queen Emma Coronel, flew to the US for the hearing in a federal court in Brooklyn, the BBC reports. Defense attorney Michelle Gelernt said that the court appearance was the only way Coronel has been able to see Guzman since he was extradited to the US last month. The 59-year-old, who twice escaped prison in Mexico, is being held at the high-security Manhattan Correctional Center, where he is under lockdown 23 hours a day and not allowed to call anybody except his legal team.

Guzman is accused of smuggling huge amount of drugs into the US as boss of a ruthless cartel. He has pleaded not guilty, but at Friday's hearing, his lawyers complained that the restrictions are so tight that it makes it tough for him to make decisions, the AP reports. They said he was even denied water during a recent meeting with defense lawyers. "I don't think there's any thought that if I have the guards give him a glass of water during a three-hour meeting that somehow that's going to effectuate his escape," Gelernt said. The judge, however, noted that the "history of the defendant is somewhat unusual" and said that based on what he knows about the case, "there are grounds for extra security measures." (Read more Joaquin Guzman stories.)

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