The identities of jurors expected to decide the fate of accused Mexican drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán at a trial later this year will be kept secret, The Guardian reports. U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn said jurors’ names, addresses and places of employment will be shielded from Guzmán, his lawyers, prosecutors and the press. Jurors be transported to and from the courthouse by federal marshals, and sequestered from the public while there. Prosecutors offered “strong and credible reasons” why the jury needs protections, including Guzmán’s use of hitmen to carry out thousands of acts of violence over more than two decades, Cogan said.
That history “would be sufficient to warrant an anonymous and partially sequestered jury, but that many of the allegations involve murder, assault, kidnapping or torture of potential witnesses or of those suspected of assisting law enforcement makes the government’s concerns particularly salient”, he said. Guzmán’s attorney, Eduardo Balarezo, said his client was disappointed by the ruling. The defense argued that an anonymous jury would give the false impression that Guzmán is dangerous. Guzmán is accused of running a massive international drug trafficking operation. Since his extradition in January 2017, he has been held in solitary confinement at a high-security federal jail in Manhattan, with officials mindful of how he twice escaped from prison in Mexico, the second time via a mile-long tunnel dug to the shower in his cell. The trial is expected to begin in the fall.