Brooklyn federal prosecutors don’t want anyone learning the identities of the jurors picked to decide Mexican drug kingpin El Chapo’s fate.
On Friday, prosecutors requested that when jurors are picked to hear the massive narcotics trafficking case against Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman, their names be kept secret.
The feds say the precautions are needed because the extradited drug lord has a history of meddling with the legal process — whether through murderous hitmen targeting witnesses or Guzman’s two Mexican prison breaks.
“Because (Guzman) was widely known as the dangerous, powerful leader of one of the world’s largest drug cartels prior to his extradition to the United States, potential jurors may fear retaliation from the defendant’s associates” if their names are out there, prosecutors maintained.
They also noted the case has white-hot media attention, which will only get more intense when the trial starts.
Prosecutors even gave a shout-out to the Netflix and Univision television series, “El Chapo,” that they say would fuel public interest even without all the trial coverage.
Anonymous and partially sequestered juries are nothing new.
Inside the safe house and escape tunnel used by Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’
In Brooklyn federal court alone, anonymous juries have been used for many high-profile, high-stakes cases, like terrorism cases and the recently concluded FIFA corruption trial.
Guzman’s trial is now scheduled for April, but the defense is looking to push back the start date to August or September.
The anonymous jurors hearing the Guzman case would be escorted in and out of the courthouse by U.S. Marshals, according to the prosecution bid.