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By Associated Press
A man who wanted the autograph of the Mexican drug lord known as “El Chapo” was dismissed as a potential juror at his federal trial in New York on Tuesday.
The man admitted at jury selection that he asked a court officer to help him get the autograph of Joaquin Guzman. That was enough for the judge to disqualify him.
Another potential juror who had described himself as a Michael Jackson impersonator also was dismissed.
Prosecutors had argued his profession made him too recognizable for a jury that’s being kept anonymous as a safety measure.
Guzman has pleaded not guilty to charges that his Sinaloa cartel smuggled tons of drugs into the United States and waged a campaign of violence to keep him in power. Opening arguments are scheduled for Nov. 13.
In a court filing late Tuesday obtained by NBC News, one of Guzman’s lawyers asked that he be allowed to hug his former beauty queen wife before opening arguments begin on Nov. 13.
“I respectfully write to request that Mr. Guzman be allowed to give his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, a brief momentary greeting to include perhaps an embrace,” attorney Mariel Colon Miro wrote in a letter to Judge Brian Cogan.
She insisted it would not be a security risk, and said it would be a “humanitarian gesture” because Guzman, who’s being held in solitary confinement, “has not been permitted to have any contact with his wife either by telephone or in person” since he arrived in New York in January of last year.
Dareh Gregorian contributed.