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Appeals court upholds conviction of drug kingpin 'El Chapo'

By Megan Hadley
Appeals court upholds conviction of drug kingpin 'El Chapo'
An undated file photo shows Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, after been recaptured in 2014, and presented by the authorities, in Mexico City, Mexico. File Photo by Mario Guzman/EPA

Jan. 25 (UPI) -- The 2nd U.S Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld the 2019 conviction of Mexican drug cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman on Tuesday.

Guzman, who is currently serving life in prison in Colorado, was convicted of conspiracy, drug trafficking, kidnapping, murder and other charges, but has challenged the ruling due to alleged unfairness before and during the trial.

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Guzman's appeal argued he was denied the right to a fair trial after a Vice news story was published, claiming several of the jurors were following the trial in the media and lied to the judge.

He also said that his strict pre-trial conditions made it difficult to mount a proper defense.

However, the judges ruled that Guzman's trial was conducted "with diligence and fairness, after issuing a series of meticulously crafted pretrial rulings."

Along with a life sentence, Guzman was also ordered to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture.

His wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, also pleaded guilty last year to charges of drug trafficking and money laundering, and was sentenced to three years in prison.

After his trial, Guzman claimed that there was no justice in America.

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"Since the government will send me to a jail where my name will not ever be heard again, I take this opportunity to say: There was no justice here," he said.

"You denied me a fair trial while the whole world was watching. ... What happened here is very clear, that the United States is as corrupt as any country."

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