March 26 (UPI) -- Lawyers requested a new trial for convicted Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman on Tuesday, stating potential jury violations and prejudice prevented a fair trial.
The motion requests another trial for Guzman, who was convicted on murder conspiracy, drug-trafficking and money-laundering charges as the leader of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel. They also seek a hearing in which Guzman's defense team can question jurors about the alleged misconduct.
"If a justice system's measure is how it treats the most reviled and unpopular, then ours may have failed Joaquin Guzman by denying him the fair trial before an untainted jury to which he's constitutionally entitled," the filing stated.
Guzman's legal team cited a Vice News report that at least six jurors from the anonymous panel violated the court's instructions by actively following media coverage of the case.
The report also said the jurors became aware of allegations that were never brought to court -- including a former henchman's allegation that Guzmán drugged and raped young girls -- as well as discussed social media reports about the case before evidence was complete and lied to Brooklyn U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan when he questioned them.
One of the lawyers, Jeffrey Lichtman, said the misconduct appeared to be more than isolated incidents of jurors mistakenly being exposed to publicity.
"This instead is a case where multiple jurors sought out the most prejudicial press coverage, filled with allegations which never made it into the trial as well as misinterpretations of evidence -- and then plotted to lie about it to the judge," Litchman said. "These are crimes."
Cogan set April 29 as the deadline for the government's response to the defense motion.