A lawyer for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman urged a U.S. appeals court on Monday to overturn the Mexican drug kingpin’s conviction, citing juror misconduct and the jail conditions that Guzman experienced.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan appeared receptive to the argument that Guzman’s trial judge in Brooklyn should have inquired into whether jurors improperly followed the case in the media during the blockbuster trial.
It was less sympathetic to a claim that Guzman’s conviction was tainted by 2-1/2 years of solitary confinement in the since-closed Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, which his lawyer Marc Fernich called a “modern dungeon.”
Guzman, 64, was convicted in February 2019 of trafficking billions of dollars of drugs and conspiring to murder enemies, as a leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.
He is serving a life sentence at Colorado’s Supermax, the most secure federal prison, and was ordered to forfeit $12.7 billion.
Guzman’s appeal focused on a Vice News article where an unnamed juror said at least five fellow jurors followed media coverage of the trial, and lied about it to the presiding judge, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan.