El Chapo Jury ‘Needs Protection,’ Will Remain Anonymous

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By Jordan S. Rubin

Accused Mexican drug lord Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera—known as “El Chapo"—lost his bid to keep the jury’s identity public when he’s tried next September in New York.

Allegations that Guzman, who the government claims led the Sinaloa drug cartel, employed hit men to silence potential witnesses against his empire led Brooklyn-based U.S. District Court Judge Brian M. Cogan to grant the government’s request on juror identities.

Even though Guzman isn’t charged with any violent crimes, federal prosecutors presented “strong and credible reasons to believe the jury needs protection,” Cogan wrote Feb. 5.

Guzman’s history of violence alone would warrant keeping the jury anonymous and partially sequestered—keeping their names, addresses, and places of employment confidential, and having them transported to and from the courthouse by the U.S. Marshals and kept from the public while in the courthouse—he wrote.

But the fact that some of these violent allegations involve taking measures against those suspected of helping law enforcement makes the safety concerns “particularly salient,” the judge wrote.

He rejected Guzman’s contention that an anonymous jury would create an unfair impression that he’s a dangerous person.

It’s just as likely, and maybe even more so, Cogan wrote, that protecting the jury’s identity will promote its impartial consideration of the evidence.

The case is United States v. Guzman Loera , E.D.N.Y., 09-cr-0466, government motion for anonymous and partially sequestered jury granted, 2/5/18 .

To contact the reporter on this story: Jordan S. Rubin in Washington at jrubin@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: C. Reilly Larson at rlarson@bloomberglaw.com

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