El Chapo’s defense fights to keep alleged bigamy out of drug trial
Sounds like bigamy can join the long list of alleged crimes committed by Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera.
During a Tuesday sidebar with the judge overseeing Guzmán’s drug-trafficking trial in Brooklyn, defense lawyer William Purpura objected to questions that might expose to the jury damaging details about his client’s multiple marriages.
“I’m not sure of the relevance of other wives. The fact that he might have three other wives at the same time he was married to Griselda, there’s no relevance to that,” Purpura said, according to a transcript of the conversation obtained by the Daily News.
Purpura was referring to Guzmán’s wife Griselda López Pérez, whom he married in the mid-80s after reportedly getting hitched to Alejandrina María Salazar Hernández in 1977. It’s not clear if he was married to a lover, Estela Peña.
His latest wife Emma Coronel — a 29-year-old, American-born former beauty queen — has been attending his trial at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn and got a scolding from the judge on Monday for using a banned cell phone in the courthouse.
“The status of the objection is that the court is going to allow over objection the introduction of multiple wives, which obviously looks like bad acts,” Purpura pleaded.
“Well, that horse is out of the barn at this point, right?” U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan said.
“We don’t have to go deeper, do we?” Purpura asked.
At that point, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Robotti agreed to pull back, saying he simply wanted to establish the identities of Guzmán’s kids ahead of alleged evidence showing they followed their father into the drug trade.
“My only question is the names of Alejandrina’s children and that’s done,” Robotti said as the sidebar ended.
Guzmán, 61, has pleaded not guilty to more than a dozen counts of drug trafficking, firearms offenses and money laundering. He’s accused of running the brutal, billion-dollar Sinaloa drug cartel and faces life in prison if convicted as charged.