Cracks are starting to show in 'El Chapo' Guzman's legal defense



Thomson Reuters

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman escorted by soldiers during a presentation at the Navy's airstrip in Mexico City after his February 2014 arrest.


After the Mexican government signed off on the extradition of jailed kingpin Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, one of his lawyers said "the real battle" would be waged during the appeals process, which he suggested could take one to three years.

Recent developments indicate, however, that Guzmán's legal team may have to deal with internal struggles in addition to legal wrangling with the Mexican government.

Two of Guzmán's lawyers, Juan Pablo Badillo and Jose Luis Gonzalez, said on Friday that the extradition was unconstitutional, and criticized high-level Mexican officials for "trampling" on the country's laws.

They said in a press conference that they had turned in an appeal to block his extradition to the Mexican supreme court.


In response to their appeal, a federal judge on Saturday granted a provisional suspension of the extradition, giving the foreign ministry 48 hours to present its report justifying its actions within US-Mexico extradition guidelines.

Despite that judge's ruling, the appeal was disavowed on Saturday by Jose Refugio Rodriguez, another member of Guzmán's legal team.

Rodriguez told The Associated Press that the appeal was not authorized by the Guzmán and that he would not sign off on it, which would mean that the court would not review it.

"This hurts Joaquin Guzman because it hinders our defense," Rodriguez told the AP. Rodriguez also said that Badillo and Gonzalez were not a part of the team working on Guzmán's extradition case. That team is still reviewing the government's case and planned to appeal in the next few weeks, the lawyer said.

El Chapo Guzman lawyer trial plead case

Univision Investiga

José Refugio Rodriguez, a lawyer for Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.


"We have a strategy with Joaquin and we are planning it," Rodriguez said, adding that Badillo and Gonzalez could have acted out of "a desire for notoriety."

Guzmán, who was recently moved from a prison in central Mexico to one near the US border in Ciudad Juarez, faces indictments in multiple US jurisdictions.

Earlier this month, the Mexican government signed off on his extradition to face charges in two of those jurisdictions: West Texas and Southern California.

On May 11, however, the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York filed a detailed indictment against Guzmán and Ismael "Mayo" Zambada, who is suspected of being a top leader in the Sinaloa cartel with Guzmán. New York is still a top candidate to try Guzmán should he be extradited to the US, according to experts who spoke with Univision.

NOW WATCH: Watch newly released video of 'El Chapo' being booked by Mexican authorities