El Chapo Juror: We Violated the Judge's Instructions

Lawyers suggest the drug lord didn't get a fair trial
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2019 12:01 AM CST
Updated Feb 21, 2019 5:44 AM CST
Judge's Instructions Were Ignored, El Chapo Juror Says
Judge Brian Cogan gives instructions to the jury on Feb. 4.   (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

A member of the jury that found Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzman guilty on all counts tells Vice News at least five jurors followed news coverage of the case during the trial, violating the judge's orders. Judge Brian Cogan regularly reminded jurors to stay away from social media and news reports on the trial. "You know how we were told we can't look at the media during the trial? Well, we did," the juror said. "Jurors did." Vice did not give the juror's name or gender; security was heavy during the trial, and US Marshals escorted members of the jury to and from the New York courthouse. The juror, who held onto the notes they took during the trial, said members of the panel discussed the case among themselves; both of those actions are also violations of Cogan's instructions.

The juror's admissions could lead to motions for a new trial, USA Today reports. One of Guzman's lawyers tweeted that the juror's claims, "if true, make it clear that Joaquín did not get a fair trial." Additional allegations against Guzman, which were not part of the trial, surfaced on the eve of deliberations, and the juror was certain that the jurors who were monitoring coverage online had seen them. "More disturbing is the revelation that the jury may have lied to the court" when they told the judge they had not seen that coverage, another of Guzman's lawyers said via email, adding that the defense team is looking into the issue. The juror was afraid to tell the judge about the violations: "I thought we would get arrested,” the juror told Vice. "I thought they were going to hold me in contempt. … I didn't want to say anything or rat out my fellow jurors." (Click for more on the sometimes-wild Guzman trial.)

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