Mexican presidents accused as defense opens El Chapo trial

A police vehicle stands outside the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse ahead of the start of the trial of Joaquin Guzman the Mexican drug lord known as

‘El Chapo’ trial openings delayed; Mexican drug lord faces life in prison

"He's blamed for being the leader while the real leaders are living freely and openly in Mexico", Jeffrey Lichtman told Brooklyn federal court.

While Guzman's defense team presents the charges leveled against their client as an worldwide conspiracy, Mexico's current president Enrique Peña Nieto and his predecessor Felipe Calderón immediately rejected the allegations of corruption levelled against them.

Cogan said the requested hug violated security procedures created to prevent Guzman from "coordinating any escape from prison or directing any attack" on cooperating witnesses.

President Enrique Pena Nieto's spokesman denied the accusation, saying: "That is false".

"Mayo can get people arrested and get the Mexican army and police to kill who he wants", Lichtman added.

The 61-year-old drug lord, who managed to escape maximum security prisons on two occasions, is kept in under close watch in solitary confinement in NY, after being extradited to the United States from Mexico in January 2017.

"Why does the Mexican government need a scapegoat?"

The prosecutors' witnesses are expected to include former Guzman associates who are now cooperating with the U.S. government in exchange for more favorable treatment, likely including Zambada's brother Jesus "El Rey" Zambada and son Vicente Zambada.

Twelve jurors and six alternates were selected last week from a pool of dozens that saw several dismissed because they feared for their lives if they were impaneled and another who suffered a panic attack.

Jurors and some former Sinaloa Cartel witnesses are anonymous and under an armed US Marshal escort.

Prosecutors contend that Guzman spent a quarter of a century smuggling cocaine into the United States.

The prosecutor told jurors how Guzman got his start in a modest marijuana-selling business in Mexico and turned it into a blood-drenched smuggling operation that funneled shipments of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine into the United States.

The prosecutor spoke of two dramatic escapes from prison by Guzman and said he was planning a third when he was brought to the U.S.

Last week, Judge Brian Cogan rejected a request from Guzman to greet and embrace his beauty queen wife Emma Coronel on Tuesday, shortly before opening statements, ruling that it was too risky.

Guzman faces 17 criminal counts and a possible life sentence if he is convicted.

While he is not on trial for murder, They contend that he ordered or committed at least 33 homicides. "You will hear him in his own words and text messages running his drug empire, drug deals, his corruption and murders".

Before long, Guzman was receiving 10 to 15 planes "stuffed with cocaine" from Colombia at landing strips in Mexico for transport to cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, Fels said.

Hope said he has seen no sign that Guzman's extradition and jailing in the US had a major impact on drug flows or routes. He escaped again in 2015 through a mile-long tunnel dug into a shower in his jail cell that he slipped into before fleeing on a motorcycle.

Prosecutors are also expected to use testimony from a dozen cooperating witnesses to prove their allegations that Guzman is the murderous head "of the largest drug drug trafficking organization in the world". The only visitors he is allowed are his lawyers and daughters, from whom he is separated by thick glass.

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