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El Chapo's planned contact visits with lawyers nixed by judge

A magistrate had recommended allowing El Chapo face-to-face meetings with additional security precautions.

Joaquin

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera's planned contact visits with his lawyers were nixed by a judge on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Charles Reed

A Brooklyn federal judge on Tuesday overrode a magistrate’s recommendation and nixed a plan for alleged cocaine kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to have contact visits with his lawyers.

Guzman, charged with leading Mexico’s violent Sinaloa Cartel, has been held in high-security conditions at the federal jail in Manhattan since his January extradition, and has complained that communicating with lawyers through a plexiglass barrier inhibits his trial preparation.

A magistrate recommended allowing face-to-face meetings with additional security precautions, but the government objected. Guzman twice escaped from jails in Mexico, and jail officials feared he might rush the door, trigger sprinklers or hurt himself to go to a less-secure hospital.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan said he wouldn’t approve contact visits because of the security issues, but ordered a middle ground – a divided meeting room with a large see-through barrier, computers on both sides for Guzman and his lawyers, and a slot to pass documents.

He said it should be put in place by Guzman’s next court hearing on Nov. 9.

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