El Chapo Trial May End Sooner Than Expected

Guzman waved to the guy who plays him on Netflix
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 29, 2019 12:07 AM CST
El Chapo Trial May End Sooner Than Expected
Actor Alejandro Edda talks to reporters outside federal court in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman told a judge Monday that he won't take the witness stand in his own defense at his US drug-trafficking trial, ending speculation that he might go for broke and build on a notorious reputation already cemented by the sprawling government case against him. "Your honor, me and my attorneys have spoken about this ... and I won't testify," Guzman said through a Spanish interpreter in a rare instance of him standing up and speaking in court. The decision, along with the defense's plan to call only two brief witnesses, could bring the trial to a sooner-than-expected conclusion, the AP reports. Closing arguments are set to begin Wednesday with deliberations starting as soon as Friday afternoon.

Guzman's lawyers say he's being framed by a cadre of cooperators who were far more culpable in the Sinaloa cartel's wildly lucrative cocaine-smuggling enterprise. As the government was finally concluding a case that began in mid-November, an actor who played Guzman on a popular Netflix series caused a minor stir Monday by showing up in the Brooklyn courtroom as a spectator. The defendant cracked a smile and waved when Narcos: Mexico cast member Alejandro Edda was pointed out to him, Edda told reporters. "It was a very surreal moment, I have to be honest," the actor said. (One of the trial's most dramatic moments came when prosecutors revealed that the FBI had flipped the drug lord's IT guy.)

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