El Chapo's lawyers say they are 'insufficiently funded,' seek trial delay

By Sara Shayanian  |  Dec. 26, 2017 at 1:02 PM
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Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Lawyers for Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán are asking a judge to postpone his trial by four months, citing a lack of funds and time.

The trial is currently scheduled to begin April 16, but Guzman's lawyers hope to push the trial back to August or September.

Eduardo Balarezo, the Guzman's lead attorney, filed court documents on Dec. 24 asking Judge Brian Cogan to delay the Brooklyn trial.

"Due to Mr. Guzmán's conditions of confinement and his inability to speak with specific family members to request that counsel's fees be paid," Balarezo wrote. "The defense is insufficiently funded at this time to be properly prepared for a trial less than four months away."

Officials have kept Guzman in extreme solitary confinement since his extradition from Mexico in January 2017.

Guzman is not allowed to speak with anyone other than his lawyers -- including his wife and family -- and is kept in his cell for 23 hours a day. Even when speaking with attorneys, the accused drug kingpin is only allowed to view court documents through a government-issued computer or via a hole in a wall where his lawyers can funnel files.

Balarezo said these conditions are preventing Guzman from making sure his lawyers get paid. Guzman's defense team has sparred with federal prosecutors over his jailhouse treatment, which Balarezo said has made Guzman "resistant" to push back the trial date.

According to Balarezo, Guzman "is not facile with computers" making it "almost impossible" to review evidence in the case.

Guzman is set to appear in court in January 2019 for a hearing.

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