Potential jurors in trial of drug lord “El Chapo” said they feared for their lives if selected


Jury selection resumes Tuesday in the trial of the infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, known as “El Chapo.” A federal judge in New York dismissed 17 potential jurors Monday, some of whom said they feared for their lives if selected.

Guzman is believed to have led the Sinaloa cartel for decades, as it became the largest drug trafficking organization in the world. U.S. prosecutors say he oversaw hundreds of murders, kidnappings and other violent acts.

Guzman slept in a cell Monday night inside the highly-secure federal courthouse in Brooklyn, which is now a virtual fortress. He was brought into court Monday wearing a suit and a shirt with a wide-open collar, but no handcuffs, as he faced the men and women who could ultimately decide his fate, reports CBS News’ Nikki Battiste.

From the moment he set foot on U.S. soil, Guzman has seemingly been surrounded by federal agents wherever he goes. Jurors will get a taste of that if they’re selected for his trial. U.S. Marshals will escort them to and from the courthouse every day for their own safety.

CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman said the names of Guzman’s jurors are being kept a secret to foil any hit men and prevent bribes.

“These jurors are going to be protected in a way that is highly unusual,” Klieman said. “No one will know their names. They won’t know their addresses, their occupations. This will not become information for the public or certainly not for the Sinaloa drug cartel.”

More from CBS News