Jurors urged to ‘use common sense’ in El Chapo trial

New York – US prosecutors urged jurors to "use common sense" when deciding whether to convict Mexican drug boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman as they presented their closing arguments on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Andrea Goldbarg said the government had presented an "avalanche of evidence" to prove Guzman’s guilt on 10 criminal counts, and that he was "a top boss" in the Sinaloa cartel.

But Goldbarg also advised jurors to "use common sense" in determining whether Guzman was a drug boss, citing his lavish lifestyle and security requirements.

His habits included travelling in an armoured car with guards and having food flown to him on the mountain where he lived, she said, adding that he owned a diamond-encrusted pistol as well as a personal zoo at his home with a train that could take guests around.

Goldbarg also described how Guzman shielded his communications and paid off law enforcement in order to protect the cartel and warn of raids.

Since November, the US government has called more than 50 witnesses to bolster its case against the former head of the Sinaloa cartel, who is accused of smuggling thousands of tonnes of drugs into the US.

Guzman is charged with crimes including leading a criminal enterprise, international cocaine distribution and money laundering.

Throughout the trial, the prosecution has also sought to link Guzman to the deaths of thousands of people as a result of his criminal enterprise. The 61-year-old was extradited to the US in early 2017, and has since been locked up in a high-security prison in New York.

If he is found guilty, he could be handed a life sentence. As part of the extradition agreement with Mexico, the US has ruled out the death penalty.

Guzman’s lawyers finished their defence on Tuesday, calling only one witness, according to US media reports.

The government is expected to finish its closing argument on Wednesday and hand over to the defence on Thursday. Afterwards, it will be up to the 12-person jury to deliberate on the verdict.


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