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'El Chapo' jurors to be kept anonymous

By
Danielle Haynes
The jurors seated in Joaquin El Chapo Guzman's upcoming federal trial will be kept anonymous to protect their safety. File Photo by Jose Mendez/EPA
The jurors seated in Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's upcoming federal trial will be kept anonymous to protect their safety. File Photo by Jose Mendez/EPA

Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Jurors involved in the trial of accused Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman will remain anonymous and partly sequestered, a federal judge ruled.

Judge Brian M. Cogan in Brooklyn said Monday that Guzman's "history of violence" made it necessary to protect the identities of the 12 jurors selected for the trial.

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"Here, the government has presented strong and credible reasons to believe that the jury needs protection," Cogan said in his ruling.

The judge also ruled the jurors will be driven to and from the courthouse by armed U.S. Marshals each day of the trial, which is expected to last three to four months.

Cogan said the restrictions were being used in order "to protect [jurors'] privacy and to ensure that the trial proceeds expeditiously."

In January, when prosecutors requested the jury be kept anonymous, Guzman promised he would not kill anyone seated at his upcoming trial.

A. Eduardo Balarezo, Guzman's attorney, said keeping jurors anonymous sends a message to jurors that his client is both dangerous and guilty. The lawyer suggested alternative solutions such as making their names non-public, forbidding juror contact and barring Guzman from knowing the names.

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