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After Reports About Jury, El Chapo Wants New Trial

Jurors reportedly disobeyed judge, followed media accounts of the trial
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 22, 2019 4:15 PM CST
Five years to the day: This Feb. 22, 2014, file photo shows Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the head of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, being escorted to a helicopter in Mexico City following his capture in the beach...   (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)

(Newser) – The defense team for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman said Friday it will seek a new trial for the notorious drug lord in light of "misconduct" on the part of several jurors who allegedly followed media accounts of the case against the instructions of a federal judge. Defense attorney Eduardo Balarezo said in a court filing he intends to ask US District Judge Brian Cogan to conduct an evidentiary hearing "to determine the extent of the misconduct," per the AP. The US Attorney's Office in Brooklyn declined to comment. Guzman was convicted last week of murder conspiracy and drug-trafficking charges. He faces life in prison at his June sentencing.

The filing came two days after Vice News reported that at least five jurors followed media reports and Twitter feeds during the three-month-long trial and were aware of potentially prejudicial material that had been excluded from the proceedings. Cogan regularly warned jurors to avoid reading about the case, one of the most highly publicized trials in recent memory. Guzman's attorneys said they want Cogan to quiz the jurors about their behavior during the trial. They asked for an additional month to prepare their motion for new trial, which is due next week. (Prosecutors are now going after El Chapo's sons.)

(Read more El Chapo stories.)

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