The courthouse was a veritable fortress Monday, as heavily armed officers and bomb-sniffing dogs periodically checked the exterior.
Guzman has pleaded not guilty to charges of running a massive drug-trafficking operation in North America, including money laundering, kidnapping and murder in cities throughout the United States, including Chicago, Miami and NY. "This prosecution demonstrates that we will apply all available resources to dismantle the leadership of risky drug cartels, wherever they operate, and will not rest until we have done so'".
The long-awaited trial of Guzman, who prosecutors believe hired assassins to knock off rivals with a string of accused violent acts to protect the cartel, will start with the jury pool arriving answering a lengthy questionnaire, according to the New York Post. The second time was via a mile-long (1.6 kilometer-long) tunnel dug to the shower in his cell. He was astonishingly on the run for almost six months, when his thirst for notoriety caught up with him. Mexican authorities then recaptured the fugitive in January 2016.
He was captured in a deadly shootout in Los Mochis, a coastal city in Sinaloa. Federal officials declined to comment, citing the high-security concerns.
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Identities of the 12 selected jurors and six alternates will remain anonymous and they will be escorted to and from the courthouse every day by armed United States marshals.
They will also be escorted in and out of the court by guards.
Cogan last week barred members of the public from attending the trial sessions when potential jurors are asked about their knowledge of the case, any hesitation about serving, and whether they can render a fair and impartial verdict. Some mentioned they were aware he had escaped from prison in Mexico, and others recalled how he did an interview with actor Sean Penn while he was on the run. Both were dismissed. One said she "read (Guzman's) family will come after jurors and their families" and the other said she was concerned about safety "in general".
Those still in the running include a self-described professional impersonator of the late pop star Michael Jackson.
Prosecutors are seeking to hide the identity of cooperating witnesses out of concerns the cartel could seek retribution. Two standout possibilities are twin brothers Pedro and Margarito Flores, former Chicago-based narcotics wholesalers who did business with Guzman before their arrest in 2008.