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'El Chapo' says he won't testify at trial

The prosecution rested its case on Monday after calling 56 witnesses.

Alleged drug trafficker Joaquin

Alleged drug trafficker Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera is escorted by Mexican marines in 2014 as he is presented to the press in Mexico City.  Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Alfredo Estrella

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera said Monday he won't testify in his own defense as the prosecution rested its case after 56 witnesses in the drug trafficking trial of the alleged cocaine kingpin and head of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.

“I will not,” Guzman said in a colloquy with U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan about whether he wanted to testify.

Evidence in the trial, which began Nov. 12, is expected to be completed Tuesday after two brief law enforcement witnesses the defense wants to call. Cogan scheduled summations by the two sides for Wednesday and Thursday, and said he hopes to charge the jury and start deliberations Friday.

Over the course of 9-1/2 weeks of testimony, prosecutors put on a powerful case that included testimony from 15 cooperating informants — including cocaine suppliers and distributors, Guzman’s lawyers, guards, accomplices and pilots, and even a mistress — as well as intercepted calls and texts.

The final witnesses included a former guard who gave grisly details of Guzman’s interrogation, torture and murder of three members of rival gangs, and law enforcement witnesses who described the tunnel Guzman used to escape from a Mexican prison in 2015 as well as his subsequent 2017 extradition to the U.S.

Cogan denied without argument a request from the defense for a judgment of acquittal based on inadequate evidence, a standard motion routinely made at the close of the government’s evidence in all criminal cases.

Guzman, who faces a likely life sentence if convicted, is charged with using murder and corruption to run a criminal enterprise that smuggled $14 billion of cocaine into the U.S., as well as conspiracy, drug distribution, and firearms and money laundering charges.

As the trial wound down Monday, one member of the audience was actor Alejandro Edda, who plays the role of Guzman in the Netflix series “Narcos: Mexico.”

Swarmed by reporters at the lunch break, Edda went out of character when asked his opinion of the case.

“Oh, I think he’s guilty,” the actor said. “There’s many, many things, horrendous, that he did.”


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