El Chapo goes on trial over drugs, Latest World News

'El Chapo' Trial: Trial of alleged drug kingpin to begin in US

Trial of drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman to begin in US with anonymous jury and high security

- Jury selection began Monday for the USA trial of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman with potential jurors, including a self-described professional Michael Jackson impersonator, quizzed about how much they knew about Guzman's reputation as a ruthless drug lord in Mexico.

Lawyers for Guzman said in a motion last week that they needed more time to review more than 14,000 pages documents, largely related to key witnesses expected to testify against their client, that prosecutors turned over.

Of about 100 potential jurors, 19 were interviewed by Judge Brian Cogan early Monday, with another 20 set for the afternoon.

The federal judge said his confinement will likely change for the trial which is expected to last about four months, so as not to disrupt throngs of New Yorkers who use the Brooklyn Bridge daily. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Mexico extradited Guzman to the United States in 2017, and ever since he has been held in solitary confinement at a NY federal prison. He was serving a 20-year sentence on drug-trafficking charges in a different prison when he pulled off an intricate escape in 2001.

U.S. prosecutors contend that from 1989 to 2014, the cartel smuggled at least 340,892 pounds (154,626 kilograms) of cocaine into the United States, as well as heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana, raking in $14 billion. Jurors will also be escorted by USA marshals to court daily while remaining anonymous throughout the trial.

They will also be escorted in and out of the court by guards.

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Opening statements in the trial are expected on November 13.

The mammoth trial in Brooklyn, which will cost millions of dollars and is expected to last more than four months, will see one of the world's most notorious criminals face the U.S. justice system.

Mexican authorities captured Guzman and an associate in January 2016 fleeing a raid on a house where he had been staying in northwest Mexico.

One juror was excused after she said she couldn't be impartial, saying, 'I feel very bad about drugs'.

"'El Chapo Guzman is the world's #1 drug criminal", DEA spokesperson Rusty Payne told Forbes after his apprehension in 2014.

And as for the Michael Jackson impersonator, prosecutors expressed some concern his identity couldn't be kept secret because there are so few people in his profession.

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