NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Prosecutors are accusing the wife of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman of getting a cell phone and making phone calls from within the Brooklyn courthouse where the accused Mexican drug lord is on trial, a move that could put people in danger on the outside.
Lawyers asked a judge Tuesday to sanction the defense team after seeing Emma Coronel Aispuro on surveillance video, accusing her of violating restrictions and possibly having “unauthorized” contact with her husband.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York filed heavily redacted court papers saying “impermissible” contact happened “in concert with an attorney visit to the defendant following two trial days last week.”
Federal authorities have imposed tight security measures throughout Guzman’s proceedings. Tuesday’s court filings referred to a “determination by the Attorney General that communications and contacts between the defendant and other persons could result in death or serious bodily injury to others.”
Guzman has been denied contact with his wife as a security measure since being brought to New York City to face drug conspiracy charges.
U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan, citing security risks, ruled that Guzman could not even hug his wife before the trial got underway, even as he praised the infamous drug smuggler for good conduct in solitary confinement.
The request for sanctions came as the trial entered its third week. The jury heard testimony Monday that Guzman orchestrated massive cocaine shipments that made him so rich he could pay multimillion-dollar bribes to a powerful police commander.
Miguel Angel Martinez told the jury that he worked for Guzman in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and that the Sinaloa cartel paid $10 million in drug money bribes at least twice to Guillermo Gonzalez Calderoni, a top law enforcement official in Mexico City. Calderoni, in exchange, tipped off the cartel about investigations and offered other protections that helped keep Guzman from getting caught, Martinez testified.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)