El Chapo’s lawyers contradict themselves over extradition
Lawyers for Mexican drug boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán have filed a legal challenge against a decision by the foreign ministry to approve his extradition to the United States.
On Friday May 27, a judge granted him “provisional suspension”, meaning that the foreign ministry has 48 hours to present a report justifying its decision, Mexican newspaper El Universal reported.
Mexico’s Foreign Ministry approved Guzman’s extradition to the United States earlier in May, and said it had received guarantees that the death penalty would not be sought against him.
But after two of Guzman’s attorneys filed the appeal against the extradition request, a third lawyer quickly disavowed it on Saturday May 28.
Attorney Jose Refugio Rodriguez told The Associated Press that the move was not authorized by Guzman and his client will not sign off on the appeal, meaning the courts would not act on it.
“This hurts Joaquin Guzman because it hinders our defense,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez added that the lawyers who filed it, Juan Pablo Badillo and Jose Luis Gonzalez Mesa, are not part of the team working on the extradition case. That team is still considering the government’s arguments and plans an appeal in the coming weeks that “El Chapo” will approve.
“We have a strategy with Joaquin and we are planning it,” Rodriguez said.
He suggested that Badillo and Gonzalez may have been motivated by “a desire for notoriety.”
Gonzalez did not immediately return a voice message seeking comment, and the AP was unable to reach Badillo.
Mexican courts recently approved two U.S. requests for Guzman’s extradition and formally sent notification to the Foreign Relations Department.
However his lawyers have 30 days to appeal and the case could go all the way to the Supreme Court, meaning it could be months before a final decision is reached.
The convicted Sinaloa cartel boss is wanted in seven U.S. jurisdictions on charges that include murder, conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine and marijuana, money-laundering and arms possession.