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By Rich Schapiro
They heard about the time he eluded a police raid by scurrying, bare naked, through a tunnel hidden below a bathtub, his mistress trailing behind.
They read textual allege messages he despatched to his wife, along with one wherein he mused that their daughter became once so brave he became once going to “give her an AK-forty seven so she can hang with me.”
And as well they listened as a feeble accomplice described seeing him brutalize two competitors with a stick for hours, shoot every individual within the pinnacle, after which dispute his males to toss the bodies into a immense bonfire. “I don’t need any bones to stay,” he acknowledged, in step with the inquire of.
The jurors deciding the destiny of notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman sat through 35 days of surreal and usually weird testimony.
A total of fifty six prosecution witnesses had been called to the stand, telling tales that at cases echoed a Shakespearean drama and at others detailed a Sinaloa cartel bloodbath.
The case is anticipated to head to the jury on Monday. It will be up to the seven females and 5 males to take whether or no longer Guzman, Sixty one, is responsible of trafficking bigger than 440,000 kilos of cocaine, laundering millions of dollars and conspiring to execute a slew of competitors.
Prosecutors knowledgeable the jury an “avalanche of proof” proved that Guzman lorded over a murderous drug empire. Guzman’s defense countered that the federal government’s case became once a fable concocted by a parade of cooperating witnesses who “lie, take, cheat, deal medication and waste folks” for a residing.
The trial, held below unprecedented security on the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Unusual York, delivered on its promise of disclosing Guzman’s legendary ruthlessness and cunning.
There had been tales of frigid-blooded murders, classes on how the cartel waterproofed cocaine programs and cinematic descriptions of how he narrowly escaped police dragnets.
The witnesses’ nicknames — Lollipop, The Paunchy One, The Godfather — had been in some circumstances as colourful as the testimony itself.
One in every of them, a longtime Guzman bodyguard identified as “Memín,” described seeing his boss stay a man’s existence in especially grotesque fashion.
The rival cartel member became once first tortured for days, the inquire of acknowledged, burned with a clothing iron and left to suffer in a chicken home till workers started complaining about the scent.
“He became once pleasing distinguished decomposing,” acknowledged the feeble bodyguard, whose accurate title is Isaias Valde Rios.
Guzman ordered his males to dig a grave. Then the blindfolded captive became once introduced sooner than the Sinaloa cartel chief, Rios acknowledged.
Guzman yelled on the man, grabbed a gun and shot him, Rios acknowledged. The sufferer became once serene “gasping for air” when he became once tossed into the outlet within the floor and buried below a pile of dirt, Rios acknowledged.
The trial took an awfully riveting flip when feeble Colombian cocaine kingpin Juan Carlos Ramírez Abadía walked up to the stand to testify in opposition to Guzman. Abadía’s face showed the drastic effects of a series of plastic surgical procedures he’d persisted to steer definite of recognition by competitors or police.
There became once also testimony of mettlesome missions to salvage sunken parcels of cocaine — and multi-million-buck political payoffs.
In a single in every of the extra headline-grabbing days of testimony, Guzman’s private secretary alleged that the boss paid a $100 million bribe to feeble Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto (Peña Nieto denied it).
Guzman became once forced to suffer during the indignity of seeing the textual allege messages he exchanged along with his wife — and diversified messages he traded along with his mistress — broadcast to the court docket.
In 2012, he despatched a message to his female friend, asking how drug sales had been going. “Oh, relish busy bees,” answered the girl, Agustina Cabanillas Acosta. “Nonstop, my relish.”
Minutes later, prosecutors printed a textual allege message Acosta despatched to a friend, revealing that she knew he became once likely spying on her. “I’m map smarter than him,” she wrote.
Over its nearly about three months, the trial drew a real pack of journalists and even some megastar spectators. End to the tip of the prosecution’s case, Alejandro Edda, the actor who plays Guzman on the Netflix series “Narcos: Mexico,” walked into the court docket.
Edda later knowledgeable journalists that being so in the case of Guzman made “his hands sweaty” and his “heart beat snappy.”
Guzman’s feeble class-queen wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, added a layer of drama to the complaints with out asserting a phrase. Days after Guzman’s mistress took the stand, the cartel chief and his wife showed up to court docket in matching burgundy velvet blazers, an obvious clarify of sartorial solidarity.
It took federal prosecutors eleven weeks to present their case. The defense rested after 30 minutes.
Guzman spoke aloud simplest once, when he civilly knowledgeable the assume he became once electing now to no longer testify in his possess defense.
“Señor assume, me and my attorneys have spoken about this,” Guzman acknowledged, “and I will reserve.”
Now it be the jury’s flip to kind the talking.