U.S. judge orders protection for Mexican drug lord El Chapo's jury

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 06, 2018 9:42 AM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge has ordered special protection for the Brooklyn jury expected to decide the fate of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman at the accused Mexican drug lord's upcoming trial.

In a decision on Monday, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan said jurors' identities will be shielded from the parties and press, and jurors will be transported to and from the courthouse by federal marshals and sequestered from the public when there.

Cogan said federal prosecutors "presented strong and credible reasons to believe that the jury needs protection."

Guzman's lawyers had argued that having an anonymous jury would undermine the defendant's presumption of innocence, and impair their ability to question jurors.

A lawyer for Guzman did not immediately respond on Tuesday to requests for comment.

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U.S. prosecutors have accused Guzman of running a global cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine smuggling operation as the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, and playing a central role in a decade-long Mexican drug war in which more than 100,000 people have died.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New YorkEditing by Jonathan Oatis)