Judge Refuses El Chapo’s Request to Hug Wife at Trial

A federal judge on Thursday denied notorious drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s request to hug his wife once he arrives in court, citing security concerns.“The Court is sympathetic to the request,” the judge wrote. “As defense counsel points out, defendant’s conduct during what are surely difficult proceedings and conditions of confinement for him has been exemplary, and he has displayed considerable grace under pressure.” But the judge added: “The Marshals have stressed that acceding to the request would be contrary to all the security procedures that have been put in place, including the SAMs, and would treat defendant differently than any other person in the Marshals’ custody who is subject to such measures.”

The decision comes after Guzman’s defense attorneys filed a request Wednesday arguing the alleged cartel leader should be granted “a brief, momentary greeting to include perhaps an embrace” with his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, for the sake of his “mental health.” They say the “humanitarian gesture” is warranted because the alleged drug trafficker was prohibited from having any physical contact with his wife for nearly two years while in solitary confinement. Guzman, 61, is accused of international drug trafficking, conspiring to kill rivals, gun charges, and money laundering. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and faces life in prison if convicted. The trial, scheduled to begin on Tuesday, is expected to last up to four months.