Jury set for deliberations at US trial of El Chapo

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman faces life in prison if convicted

After nearly three months of testimony about a vast drug-smuggling conspiracy steeped in violence, a jury is due to begin deliberations Monday at the U.S. trial of the infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

A federal judge in Brooklyn is set to give instructions to jurors in the morning before asking them to begin deciding the verdict for Guzman, who faces life in prison if convicted.

The jury has heard months of testimony about Guzman’s rise to power as the head of the Sinaloa cartel. Prosecutors say he’s responsible for smuggling at least 200 tons of cocaine into the United States and a wave of killings in turf wars with other cartels.

READ MORE: Closing arguments in trial of Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’

Guzman, 61, is notorious for escaping prison twice in Mexico. In closing arguments, Andrea Goldbarg said he was plotting yet another breakout when was he was sent in 2017 to the U.S., where he’s been in solitary confinement ever since.

The defendant wanted to escape “because he is guilty and he never wanted to be in a position where he would have to answer for his crimes,” Goldbarg said. “He wanted to avoid sitting right there. In front of you.”

The defence claims Guzman’s role has been exaggerated by co-operating witnesses who are seeking leniency in their own cases. In his closing, defence attorney Jeffrey Lichtman assailed the case as a “fantasy” and urged the jury not to believe co-operators who “lie, steal, cheat, deal drugs and kill people” for a living.

Last week, newly unsealed court papers revealed disturbing allegations not heard by the jury — that Guzman had sex with girls as young as 13. A Colombian drug trafficker told investigators the kingpin paid $5,000 to have the girls brought to him, and that he sometimes drugged them, the papers say.

READ MORE: US trial to tell epic tale of Mexican drug lord “El Chapo”

The unsealing of the documents came at the request of The New York Times and Vice News. U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan had ordered prosecutors to review the material — originally sealed because it was deemed unrelated to the drug charges — and make portions of it public within four days of the government resting its case against Guzman.

Guzman’s attorneys said their client denies the allegations.

Tom Hays, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Alberta male team takes silver in Winter Games relay speed skating

Alberta was close behind Quebec in the team relay speed skating finals

County of Paintearth bringing in new payment method for ratepayers

County will soon able to accept major credit-cards

Alberta was crowned champions in Wheelchair Basketball at Canada Winter Games

Ontario won silver while Quebec took home the bronze medal

Castor’s Covenant Health an employer of choice in Alberta

Covenant Health staff help keep Alberta’s communities strong by creating fulfilling workplaces

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

WATCH: Pet therapy brings calmness to Winter Games athletes

Canada Winter Games in Red Deer continue on until March 2nd

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Child advocacy centre raising funds through Dream Home Lottery

The child advocacy centre in Red Deer uses its resources to help kids all over Central Alberta

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Sylvan Lake’s Megan Cressey misses Freestyle Skiing Big Air podium

Alberta’s Jake Sandstorm captured silver in the men Freestyle Skiing Big Air contest

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Most Read