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.)