Autograph hunter dismissed from jury in El Chapo trial

Autograph hunter dismissed from jury in El Chapo trial
By Lindsey Johnstone with AFP
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

A potential juror has been dismissed by the judge in the El Chapo trial after asking the defendant for his autograph.


A potential juror in the New York trial of Mexican drug baron Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was dismissed by the judge on Tuesday after asking for the defendant's autograph.

The fan — whose identity is being withheld along with all potential jurors in the case — was born in Colombia and told the court during his interview that he was aware of drug trafficking because he was born in Medellin, the hometown of Colombian drug cartel chief Pablo Escobar.

However, he insisted this would not affect his judgement as a juror.

He admitted on Tuesday to having asked a court security officer for Guzman's autograph, when questioned by District Judge Brian Cogan, saying: "I'm a bit of a fan."

The prosecution objected and the defense argued he should stay, but Cogan dismissed him.

Of almost 60 potential jurors, none have yet been selected and 27 have been dismissed — including five who have voiced security concerns.

One young woman said that her mother had told her "we've got to move and get a new house". Cogan dismissed her, saying: "She's worried the pressure on her mother will be injurious to her health."

Among other potential jurors struck were one who had a panic attack and was taken to hospital; a Michael Jackson impersonator whose job was deemed too identifiable; and a man who liked an "El Chapo" sandwich at a deli near his workplace, and complained that could make him identifiable.

Twelve jurors and six alternates will be selected to decide whether Guzman, who is accused of spending 25 years smuggling cocaine into the United States, is guilty on 11 trafficking, firearms and money laundering charges, in what is expected to become the most expensive in US federal history.

Share this articleComments

You might also like

El Chapo's lawyers need more funds, seek trial delay

Mexican drug kingpin 'El Chapo' pleads not guilty in US court

Notorious drug lord 'El Chapo' extradited to US, Mexico's Foreign Ministry