NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Jury selection began Monday in the federal trial of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
The alleged drug kingpin is accused of running a cartel that laundered billions of dollars while overseeing ruthless kidnappings and murders.
Before dawn Monday, the 61-year-old was driven in a heavily armed motorcade from a Manhattan correction facility to Brooklyn, shutting down part of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Given the violent history of Guzman and his associates, the Eastern District of New York federal court is taking unprecedented measures to protect the potential jurors, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported. Police and U.S. marshals are stationed outside the courthouse – not taking any chances with a man who escaped Mexican prison twice.
In an order issued in February, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan said the jurors will remain anonymous and partially sequestered. Their names, addresses and places of employment will be kept confidential. They will also be transported to and from the courthouse by armed federal marshals.
Guzman’s lawyers fought to prevent an anonymous jury, arguing the lengths taken to protect the jurors might prejudice them.
Guzman was wearing a dark blue suit and white dress shirt with broad collars. He was not handcuffed.
Guzman was captured in Mexico in 2016 and extradited to the United States to stand trial. He’s accused of running a massive drug trafficking operation, along with money laundering, kidnapping and murder.
He’s pleaded not guilty to international drug trafficking, money laundering, kidnapping and murder. If convicted, he faces life behind bars.
The trial is expected to last about four months, and opening statements are scheduled for November 13.