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On 11/13 when Adam Fels, a prosecutor on the Chapo team, gave the govt's opening statement, he made it seem like there was a single seamless case against the kingpin. But now that prosecutors are about to rest it's clear there was never one case but a quilt of many sewn together.
Well before he was extradited to New York two years ago, Chapo was facing six separate indictments in six separate judicial districts. The prosecution has essentially built a master case drawing on the strongest elements of each.
It's been, w/notable exceptions, a remarkable exercise in cooperation. The trial has relied on work by the FBI, DEA, Homeland Security Investigations, the Narcotics & Dangerous Drug Section of Main Justice and US Atty's offices in Chicago, Miami, El Paso, San Diego and New York.
In some cases the indictments reach back more than a decade. The longevity of the case accounts for its scope. The govt's case, likely ending today, was monumental: surveillance photos, drug ledgers, two wiretaps, more than 50 witnesses and bricks of seized cocaine & heroin.
I'll be writing more about this later, but it was a remarkable undertaking. As the one of the world's biggest drug traffickers Chapo was a unique target. And to build one of the world's biggest drug cases against him took a unique level of collaboration.
PS. An interesting visitor has showed up for what seems like the prosecution's final day: The actor who plays Chapo in the Netflix series...
Today we'll hear more from Isaias Valdez, a cartel assassin who gave incredible testimony last week about murders Chapo personally committed. (See below)
Then from some law enforcement witnesses who may talk about Chapo's final capture in Los Mochis.
The Chapo trial has now gone full meta.
Alejandro Edda, who plays the kingpin in Narcos: Mexico is in the courtroom, He just shook hands w/Chapo's lawyers Eduardo Balarezo & Bill Purpura.
Balarezo said he wants Clooney to play him in the movie version. Purpura wants Pacino.
As Chapo was brought into the courtroom, Purpura leaned over and told him the actor playing him on TV was there.
Chapo looked absolutely ecstatic, grinning from ear to ear. He and Edda shared a glance and what seemed like a brief nod.
"He seemed happy," Purpura later said.
Edda borrowed binoculars from someone & was studying Chapo intently. He was also interested in Chapo's wife, Emma Coronel.
(Testimony meanwhile: The cartel killer--also a pilot--was talking about flying into a small Colombian airport obscured by clouds and nearby mountains.)
Edda however wasn't exactly thrilled. He didn't know what to make of Chapo's smile.
"Is that a good thing?" he asked, adding it made him a little nervous.
Like all of us at this trial, he was having a hard time keeping things straight.
"I feel like I'm inside a movie," he said.
There's something fitting about Edda showing up as the prosecution is poised to rest. As serious as this trial is, it has from the start had a circus-like atmosphere. The show trial aspect started 2 year ago with a huge press conference in Brooklyn announcing Chapo's extradition.
Chapo and his wife added to the telenovela ambiance with their matching garnet velvet smoking jacket stunt last week (if you missed, I'm sorry, I just can't explain it in a tweet...)
We've heard testimony that Chapo, while on the lam in the mountains, was serious enough making a movie about himself that he invited a Colombian producer to his secret hideout for story meetings.
Now (of course) the actor playing Chapo on Narcos: Mexico is conducting a press conference to a huge group of reporters literally on the courthouse steps...
Back at the actual trial, we just heard from James Bradley, a DOD analyst, who gave some new details on the tunnel Chapo used to escape Altiplano prison in 2015. The best one: the tunnel had a ventilation system run a generator. The generator vent was disguised as a BBQ grill.
It took at least 8 months to build the tunnel, Bradley said. It was 4600' long, about 5' high and 3' wide. There were lights and rails for a small mining cart of sorts. PVC on the ceiling provided air pushed through a motor run by the generator.
We also saw a prison security video showing guards didn't respond to Chapo's escape for at least 37 minutes. After Chapo vanishes down the hole in his cell shower, guards do appear at his cell calling his name: "Guzman! Guzman Loera!" But even tho he doesn't answer, they leave.
It takes another 30 minutes or so for two more guards to actually enter the cell. That's when they find the tunnel hole. You can hear one apparently on the radio saying, "There is a hole in the shower." Someone asks him, "What size is it?" Big, he answers.
It's official:
Chapo is NOT testifying at the trial.
Judge Cogan asked him this afternoon after the government rested its case. There was a second of drama though.
"Your honor," Chapo said, "me and my attorneys have spoken about this and I will reserve."
"Reserve?" the judge asked.
"Yes, I will not testify," Chapo said.
Judge Cogan made sure that he had come to this decision on his own, not just because his lawyers told him to to.
"Yes," he said, "but they counseled me about it and I agree with them."
The defense will mount a very small case starting tomorrow. They will call two federal agents and question them about inconsistencies between notes they took of interviews with the witness Jorge Cifuentes and Cifuentes' testimony at the trial.
Then the trial will speed toward its conclusion:

Wednesday: Govt summations.
Thursday: Defense summations.
The jury could start deliberating on Friday.
A little more on Chapo not testifying. We're not privy to his discussions w/his lawyers because of atty-client privilege. But one of them, Bill Purpura, told Judge Cogan they explained what cross-examination might be like if he testified.
Purpura said Chapo made the decision not to testify "knowingly and voluntarily."
A note on the scope of the government's case, which rested this afternoon:
It's so sprawling that prosecutors told Judge Cogan today that they expect their summations to last much/most of the day on Wednesday.
(Chapo's lawyers said they think theirs will last 2 hours or so.)
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