CHICAGO– The world’s richest and most notorious drug lord, known as Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, is responsible for bringing tons of illicit drugs to Chicago over the decades. Now he is asking for his life sentence to be overturned.
It’s an uphill battle for El Chapo. The man nicknamed “Shorty” is trying to convince a court that he was wronged by US prosecutors in his racketeering conspiracy case.
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The shootout that brought down El Chapo happened nearly nine years ago, when Mexican commandos broke into his beachfront hotel room. At the time, Chapo was wanted in Chicago on federal charges and facing indictment in several other US cities.
He was eventually extradited to Brooklyn, New York, in what some saw as a preferential power play by the then U.S. Attorney General, who formerly worked there.
After his conviction, Chapo was sent to the closed SuperMax prison in Colorado to serve a life sentence. From there, the drug lord filed a new court petition asking to be released or retried. The document is strangely signed by El Chapo Guzman himself, and not by a lawyer.
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“Presumably he has some backstage advice. But yeah, on the face of it, he’s asking for it himself,” said Gil Soffer, a former federal prosecutor and ABC7 legal analyst.
He reviewed Chapo’s filing for the I-Team and says it’s a pretty standard Habeas Corpus petition that tears his defense attorneys apart, calls for unfair US extradition and unconstitutional treatment by prosecutors.
“What he’s asking for is another bite of the apple. He lost his case, he lost on appeal, but it’s a mechanism for him to say, regardless, I still have a right to a reversal of my conviction and a new trial, because my constitutional rights were violated,” Soffer said. “The challenge he saw in this case, like any challenge by the defendant in a similar Habeas motion Corpus, he must show that his constitutional rights were violated and that the outcome of his trial would have been different had they not been violated. And that’s a very high hurdle to jump.”
El Chapo’s uphill battle may not be without legal assistance, according to former Assistant US Attorney Soffer. But the trap of this drug baron is that he would have ceded all his illicit wealth to the government. Paying a large legal bill from an offshore account may raise some suspicion.
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