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The El Chapo Jury Is Still Deliberating. Here's Why

The first of 10 counts has 27 separate violations to assess. Then there are 9 more counts
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2019 10:15 AM CST
In this courtroom drawing, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, center, sits at the defense table while listening to Judge Brian Cogan addressing the jury on Thursday in the New York courtroom.   (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

(Newser) – The trial itself was riveting in a made-for-the-movies kind of way. Jurors in the El Chapo case in New York heard about murders, mistresses, daring escapes, massive bribes, and much more. You might have even envied jurors for their front-row seats. Now, not so much. The jury deciding whether Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is a drug lord who ran the Sinaloa cartel entered its second week of deliberations on Tuesday. What's taking so long? Their task is insanely complicated. Details:

  • The volume: Jurors heard from 57 witnesses and saw hundreds of exhibits, per Vice. Now they have a 25-page charging document to assess and what amounts to a complicated eight-page "scorecard" to fill out with the verdict on each count and related violation. To help, they have about 60 pages of instructions.
  • Quite a count: El Chapo is charged with 10 different counts, but those counts are doozies. For example, the first one, "Engaging in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise," has 27 separate violations, and all must be considered individually, reports the New York Post. To be guilty of the count, he must be found guilty of at least three of the violations.
  • Sample questions: The jurors have returned to the courtroom with questions, including, "Is ephedrine considered methamphetamine?" "Does a violation have to be proven or not proven unanimously?" and is it a "drug crime" if cartels kill rivals for "personal reasons"? They've also requested thousands of pages of testimony from witnesses.

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