'El Chapo' Trial: Judge Postpones Hearing Until September Due To Defense Payment Difficulties

 Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman
A picture of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman. Photo: YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images

The trial against Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán was scheduled to take place on April 16, 2018. However, at the request of the lawyer of the accused, the hearing was postponed until September claiming that a lack of communication between El Chapo and his relatives have hindered the funding of his legal defense.

New York federal judge and the person in charge of the case, Brian Cogan, issued an order announcing that the start of the trial is postponed until September. Cogan did not specify the day, so he asked the prosecution and the legal defense of the Mexican to clear their calendar and do the necessary arrangements to leave dates free in that month. According to the magistrate, September will be more convenient because due to the summer holidays there could be difficulties in the selection of the jury in August.

According to EFE, the officials informed that on February 15, when the next hearing will be held to know the status of the legal process, everyone should be ready, so he can finally inform the date on which they will hold the trial.

The defense of El Chapo, Eduardo Balarezo of Balarezo Law Firm, presented a formal request on December 24 to delay the trial, taking into account the complexity of the case and the limitations in obtaining funds from the indicted. According to Balarezo, there are communication difficulties between El Chapo and his relatives, and for this reason the payment to lawyers is becoming more difficult. Likewise, they established the extensive nature of the documentation presented, which is around more than 200,000 papers.

"El Chapo" has been locked in a 20-by-12-foot cell, 23 hours a day since January 2017. In March 2017, El Chapo's former lawyers Michelle Gelernt and Michael Schneider sent a motion to Judge Cogan demanding the end to his isolation and to allow the visits from his wife, claiming that the Sinaloa Cartel leader is having auditory hallucinations and his health is getting worse. El Chapo, 60, "has difficulty breathing and suffers from a sore throat and headaches. He has recently experienced auditory hallucinations, complaining that he listens to music in his cell even when his radio is off," they wrote.

When Balarezo took the case, also asked an evaluation by health professionals, assuring that Guzmán shows a "mental deterioration" due to the conditions of his imprisonment. The New York federal judge accepted the motion and asked for a neuropsychological examination.

If El Chapo is convicted, a possible sentence of life imprisonment hangs over him, since the US government accuses him of killing thousands of people and of introducing thousands of tons of drugs into the country, in addition of having as witnesses the twin brothers Pedro and Margarito Flores.

The Flores twins used to be part of Guzmán's supply operation, but due complications they decided to be part of an undercover federal operation with the U.S. law enforcement, flipping on "El Chapo."

Guzmán Loera has pleaded not guilty to the 17 counts of which he is accused by the U.S. justice, which includes having run one of the largest drug empires in the Americas. Tentatively, the trial against him will begin on September, 2018.

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Shirley Gomez has been exposed to many aspects of the art world. Besides being a Fashion Journalist, she studied Fashion Styling and Fashion Styling for Men at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Interior Design at UNIBE and Fashion Design at ITSMJ Fashion School in the Dominican Republic. She worked as a Fashion Journalist, Fashion Stylist and Social Media Manager at one of the most recognized magazines in the Dominican Republic, Oh! Magazine, as an occasional Entertainment Journalist, of the prestigious newspaper “Listín Diario”, as well as a fashion collaborator of a radio show aired in 100.9 FM SuperQ. When Shirley is not writing you can find her listening Demi Lovato or Beyonce's songs, decorating her apartment or watching Family Feud.