El Chapo’s Lawyer Says U.S. Jail Is Too Strict: "He's Locked In His Cell For 23 Hours A Day"
The drug lord was reportedly denied water, phone privileges, and visits from his wife.
El Chapo isn’t adjusting well to being locked up in the United States. Lawyers for the 59-year-old accused Mexican drug lord attended a federal court hearing in Brooklyn Friday (Feb. 2) to argue against prison conditions, which they claim are too strict.
"Essentially, he's locked in a cell for 23 hours a day," defense attorney Michelle Gelernt told reporters outside of the courthouse, according to NBC News. “He's only permitted out for limited members of our office and one hour of exercise a day — it's extremely restrictive."
District Judge Brian Cogan noted that Chapo’s history is “somewhat unusual, ” since he escaped from prison in Mexico twice. However, Gelernt sees the treatment as extreme.
"We understand the need for security but we think it has gone above and beyond," she said.
Chapo, whose birth name is Joaquin Guzman, was extradited to the U.S. two weeks ago, and is being held in at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
According to Gelernt, Chapo hasn't been allowed to use to the phone, and was denied water during a meeting with his legal team.
"I don't think there's any thought that if I have the guards give him a glass of water during a three-hour meeting that somehow that's going to effectuate his escape," she pointed out.
Gelernt went on to say that Chapo was barred from receiving visits from his 27-year-old wife, Emma Coronel, who attended the court hearing, where she saw her husband for the first time since his extradition.
Chapo faces 17-counts related to international drug trafficking. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.