El Chapo defense fumes on late ‘exculpatory’ evidence reveal from federal prosecutors

0
128

El Chapo says the feds have been holding back information that could help him beat his blockbuster drug-trafficking trial.

After Brooklyn federal prosecutors turned over 41 pieces of evidence to lawyers for Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman earlier this week, the defense blasted authorities Thursday, saying they’ve been sandbagged on crucial information in the high-profile case.

“Your belated disclosure of this material, made in a vague and non-specific manner, is highly troubling and indicative of your desire to game the system to the government’s benefit and to prevent Mr. Guzman from having a fair trial,” A. Eduardo Balarezo wrote, fuming over the unspecified items shared mere months ahead of Guzman’s September trial.

Balarezo said if jurors put stock in the “exculpatory information,” it either diminishes or debunks Guzman’s alleged role in sprawling cartel conspiracies — or “outright exonerates Mr. Guzman.”

Guzman ran the fearsome Sinaloa Cartel for decades, funneling tons of narcotics into the states, prosecutors insist.

The defense said prosecutors filed a sealed letter on Monday that revealed the 41 items, plus alleged statements by Mr. Guzman.

According to Balarezo, prosecutors said they were making the disclosures “out of an abundance of caution” to follow legal requirements on turning over evidence that’s favorable to the defense.

Balarezo was hardly impressed because Guzman had been asking for that exact evidence since soon after his January 2017 extradition from Mexico.

The tardiness was “inexcusable,” especially considering the feds had been sitting on some of the information as far back as 1993, Balarezo added.

He demanded prosecutors get specific with him by Friday about the circumstances and sources of the newly revealed evidence.

That “the government is disclosing this evidences so close to trial shows that it is interested in obtaining a conviction at all costs — Mr. Guzman’s rights be damned,” Balarezo said in a statement. “All Mr. Guzman asks for is a fair trial and the ability to defend himself as any other defendant.”

A spokesman for the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment.

By: Andrew Keshner, Daily News

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY