Report: Jurors Ignored Orders, Followed News Coverage Of El Chapo Trial

February 20, 2019 - 6:32 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — At least one member of the jury that convicted Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman followed media coverage of the trial, violating a judge’s instructions, according to a Vice News report.

The unidentified jurors told the news outlet Wednesday that five other jurors often checked Twitter and media outlets for updates on the trail.

If the report is true, it would mean that Guzman’s defense could motion for a new trial, as CBS News legal analyst Thane Rosenbaum explained.

“Because of the nature of this trial, they were get a very strong instructions not to be influenced by any outside sources only the things that come into trial and definitely don't speak to each other,” Rosenbaum explained.

He adds that it’s possible jurors often disobey instructions to remain isolated, but they never have openly admitted to it before.

“In a situation like this, you know, it looks like a contaminated jury and I would not be surprised if El Chapo received a new trial,” Rosenbaum said.

Eduardo Balarezo, a member of Guzman's defense team tweeted in agreement that the juror's claim, “if true, make it clear that Joaquín did not get a fair trial.”

The identities of the jurors were never released, something the defense strongly argued against, claiming they were unable to find out if the jurors would have a bias in the case.

Now, Balarezo says the team is reviewing the report and “will make any appropriate motions for relief.”

Guzman is scheduled to be sentenced in June and could be sent to the so-called "Alcatraz of the Rockies," the Supermax federal prison in Colorado.