The jury in the trial of the billionaire Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, known as El Chapo, is expected to begin its deliberations next Monday, the highest profile such trial in American legal history.
To reach its verdict the jury will need to sort through an avalanche of evidence that includes hours of wiretapped phone conversations, thousands of documents and the testimony of some 56 witnesses—including El Chapo’s closest deputies, his IT guy and one of his many mistresses.
Guzman’s wife Emma Coronel Aispuro was seated in the courtroom as the mistress testified, and seated next to her at the time was renown courtroom sketch artist Christine Cornell.
“I’m quite sure that she is listening intently but she plays with her hair and looks at her fingernails,” while the witnesses are testifying, Cornell told Brian Ross in an interview for the program Brian Ross Investigates on the Law&Crime Network.
Later, Cornell said, she could hear the mistress in a back room sobbing, “She said she was very confused,” forced to testify against El Chapo, the man she once loved. “She really thought they were a team,” Cornell said.
Court observers described the evidence against El Chapo as overwhelming, and New York Times reporter Alan Feuer said he would not be surprised if the jury deliberations last only a few days.
“It’s an astonishing amount of evidence that the government is introducing in this case,” said Feuer who also appeared on the “Brian Ross Investigates” program.
“It’s been not only 56 witnesses, it’s been handwritten letters that Chapo wrote to his criminal associates, it’s been hundreds of phone calls that were intercepted with the help of the IT guy, text messages of the most intimate sort that he wrote to his wife and his various mistresses, even the Cartel’s sophisticated Blackberry network was tracked by a wiretap by Homeland Security Investigations. I’ve never seen so much evidence in a case,” Feuer said.
Ariel Tu contributed to this report.