Unless you are living in black hole, then you likely know that on Tuesday, Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera will be spending the rest of his life in a seven-foot by twelve-foot concrete and steel cell. Some of you may want to point out that Chapo does not officially get sentenced until June. However, some of the guilty counts carry a mandatory sentence of life without a chance for parole. The sentencing is just a formality.
Obviously, the defense team is promising an appeal. There is no doubt that there are areas where they can appeal on, such as the judge limiting the scope of what questions they could ask cooperating witnesses about. Many of the witnesses testifying against El Chapo were doing so under cooperating agreements with prosecutors.
The court was also notorious for it’s secrecy on many court document filings and even sidebars. Two media outlets challenged the secrecy. They were somewhat successful in that the documents should be unsealed in a not too distant future.
For the last three months, or so, I have been closely following the court proceedings.
Some years ago, I started to write a book chronicling the rise and fall of the Mexican cartels. But, when El Chapo escaped jail through the tunnel, it put the book on hold as a book without a closing chapter on El Chapo is incomplete.
When Chapo’s trial started last November, I followed the trial to add to my research.
It soon became apparent that the research I collected from the trial was a book on its own.
There was much court room drama, including Chapo’s wife and some on the defense team allegedly colluding to allow Chapo and his wife to communicate in violation of the judge’s orders. There was even a clear message sent to a witness by both El Chapo and his wife via their clothing. Even the defense team was sending their own messaging via the book “Cartel Wives” sitting at the defense table.
As if that wasn’t enough, the cartel saint; Jesús Malverde (Santa Muerte), appeared with the defense team.
There was even a moment when the lights went out in the court room and someone yelled; “he’s gone!”
Much to the relief of everyone, especially the Marshals guarding El Chapo, he was still sitting there when the lights came back on.
Almost to the very end, the court room drama kept observers wondering what could happen next. A courtroom spectator made an appearance during the last days of jury deliberations proclaiming to be a Chapo family member. He was soon arrested and turned over to ICE.
Notwithstanding the court room drama there was much first-hand testimony that gave the jury and courtroom spectators an inside look into the secretive world of the Mexican cartels. The testimony was explosive, to say the least. The courtroom evidence was the nail on Chapo’s future. There were telephone recordings, videos and text messaging that clearly laid out El Chapo’s culpability.
My notes will allow me to finish my original book on the Mexican cartels.
But the Chapo court room drama deserves a book on its own.
Now that the verdict has been given, the final chapter on El Chapo is closed. Yes, there will be appeals. There might even be some intrigue, but El Chapo is not leaving the seven-by-twelve-foot cell he will soon occupy for the rest of his life.
But other chapters are starting to open.
What does México do now about the Drug War is an obvious one. Will there be another Chapo? Is there another Chapo? What does the Chapo trial say about México, the Mexican government and even America?
Even how I came to write about the Chapo trial is an interesting story as well.
These are the things, and more, I’ll be covering in upcoming blog posts and upcoming podcasts.
But now I will be focused on finishing the last chapter of “Convicting Chapo – Naked and Afraid – the Trial to Convict El Chapo”.
My book goes on sale on March 1st.
It will include court documents and exhibits and the witness testimonies that put Chapo behind bars. I will even be adding a corresponding website where you can view the court videos and hear El Chapo in his own words.
For those of you who may want a signed copy of the book, please contact me and I’ll be sure to send you one as soon as it goes on sale.