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Accused Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' faces United States trial

Accused Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' faces United States trial

Jury selection began Monday for the USA trial of Joaquin Guzman "El Chapo" Guzman with potential jurors, including a self-described professional Michael Jackson impersonator, quizzed about how much they knew about Guzman's reputation as a ruthless drug lord in Mexico.

American prosecutors have accused Guzman of overseeing a multibillion-dollar drug operation and a ruthless campaign of murders and kidnappings of his rivals.

Prosecutors say they believe they can prove he was also involved in a 1992 shootout at a nightclub that left six people dead. News 12 is told the jurors also being escorted to and from court.

Starting Monday, Brooklyn federal prosecutors will share the feeling.

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Opening statements in the trial are expected on November 13. For the most part, he did not make eye contact with potential jurors, who were brought within about 10 feet (3 meters) from him for individual questioning.

According to court filings, prosecution witnesses will include former Sinaloa Cartel members and others involved in the drug trade who are now cooperating with the United States government.

One of the early aspiring jurors described himself as a "Michael Jackson impersonator", prompting Guzman lawyer Eduardo Balarezo to crack, "Show us the moonwalk!"

Guzman is pleading not guilty but the government has presented a wealth of evidence that includes more than 300,000 pages and at least 117,000 audio recordings. "Probably not. The machine keeps rolling", says Rob Heroy, a North Carolina lawyer who has defended other Mexican drug barons. In the United States, opioid addiction has spiraled into an epidemic. His co-defendant Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada remains at large, and violent drug trafficking continues unabated in Mexico.

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"Guzman Loera is accused of using violence, including torture and murder, to maintain an iron-fisted grip on the drug trade across the U.S. -Mexico border, ' then-Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said". Due to security concerns, the jurors' identity will be kept secret and they will be guarded by armed marshals on the way from court to home during the expected four-month trial.

Guzman has been held in solitary confinement in NY since Mexico extradited him and he spends 23 hours a day in his cell. He spends 23 hours a day in his cell.

Mexican authorities captured Guzman and an associate in January 2016 fleeing a raid on a house where he had been staying in northwest Mexico.

The only visitors he is allowed are his three lawyers and twin seven-year-old daughters - the judge banned his 29-year-old beauty queen wife, Emma Coronel, from visiting. Re-arrested by Mexican marines in February 2014, he escaped again 14 months later.

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This time, Mexico chose to wash their hands of him and put him on a plane.