International drug-cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has auditioned at least 16 private attorneys over the last three months from Manhattan’s federal jail, and he still has not found a lawyer. The notorious drug kingpin is being represented by court-appointed public defenders, and he faces a string of complex charges that carry a mandatory minimum life sentence in prison. A judge ruled days ago that Guzman can message with his wife about how to hire a legal team—and pay them. Manhattan lawyer Richard Levitt was one of the many respected attorneys who have been interviewed by the famed prison escapee. “The government may be taking the position that any money paid for a lawyer is tainted,” Levitt said, noting that Guzman faces a tough road finding a lawyer. Guzman will reportedly have to provide evidence that any money he uses for legal fees did not emanate from a criminal enterprise, even if the money comes from a benefactor. “It would take an immense amount of resources to represent this guy,” said another attorney, Steven Brounstein. Guzman’s charges span over two decades, various countries, and rely on cooperating witnesses with often competing agendas.
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