Day two of jury selection in the trial of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman brought an unexpected surprise. While jurors are usually excused for their opinions or their life circumstances, a potential was excused by the judge after requesting Guzman’s autograph.
While the juror was not identified, it has been revealed that he was born in Colombia but has been living in New York for the past 20 years. During his interview, the man admitted he was born in Medellin (the hometown of late drug kingpin Pablo Escobar).
According to reports, the man also revealed that he liked TV crime dramas, and insisted it wouldn’t affect his judgment going forward. But then…he asked a court security officer for Guzman's autograph. When asked by the judge, the man reportedly owned up and noted, “I'm a bit of a fan.” Defense attorneys wanted him to stay, prosecutors wanted him gone…and he was ultimately excused.
Opening statements are expected to begin next Tuesday – that is, if a jury can be seated from the pool of 60 that’s been pulled. Nearly half have been interviewed – and none have been seated. The reputed Mexican drug kingpin is on trial in Manhattan for drug conspiracy and money laundering. Prosecutors and defense lawyers are looking to seat 12 New Yorkers who can afford to take four months off work and aren't afraid to sit in judgment of a man accused of ordering hits on at least 30 people who got in his way. For their efforts, jurors will be paid 40-dollars a day, remain anonymous, and be escorted to and from court by marshals.