Monday, January 28, 2019

El Chapo Trial: The Circus Continues--Only 2 on the defense witness list and Chapo isn't one

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat

Update: Chapo will not testify, defense has only 2 agents on their witness list  attempting to impeach Alex Cifuentes testimony

Isaias Valdez Rios aka El Memin or Memo, finishes up his stint on the witness stand.

After the harrowing execution tale he gave last week, defense attorneys look to damage hos credibility. 

Arm chair critics can offer up an opinion of how “devastating” testimony is from a killer, but without supporting evidence no one knows what is in the mind of jurors.  Today, in the world of forensics, jurors expect some direct evidence to accompany hearsay.


Memín says he stayed in a Washington DC hotel when he began his cooperation with the feds.  In his hotel room, he had access to TV, phone and internet.

Balarezo: So, some of the things they asked about, you then looked them up on the internet----right?
Memin “Asi es”  [that’s right]

Balarezo highlighting  inconsistencies in Memín's testimony about torture, gunfights, and killings.

Example: Memín said he ran a guy over during a shootout, but a pic of his vehicle shows no blood on the bumper.

His explanation is the guy he hit was kneeling, therefore  no blood.

Balarezo says about possible inconsistencies; “If they can't believe you on the little things, how can they believe you on the big things?"

Balarezo asked Memín about the guy who was tortured with a clothes iron. Memín responded that he could remember: "it even had the little holes where the iron left marks, where the steam comes out." The hope is to cast doubt on his testimony and suggest he is exaggerating.

Balarezo: "I think it's pretty common knowledge that escaping from jail isn't a crime, correct?"

Dead silence.

Memin: "You're saying that's not a crime?"

The question was asked again: "Yes, yes, it is a crime," Memín said. [and Mexico is one of a handful of nations where it is not a crime]

Not sure if El Memin is a total con, yet the aftermath of a shootout is provided in video to the jury.

Confusion reigns supreme as the defense appears to purposefully muddle the stories, switching out characters and contorting narratives.

Defense is limited to questioning of agents about EPN bribes

Defense attorney Purpura strongly argued with Judge Cogan regarding calling federal agents.  The agents debriefed Alex Cifuentes about bribes allegedly given to Enrique Pena Nieto.

Cogan stands firm in denying and limiting such questions.

Defense attorney Lichtman weighed in, arguing that Alex Cifuentes was inconsistent about the alleged bribes to Mexican presidents.

Lichtman: "It is directly related to his bias and his motives to protect the US government and they're doing that to protect the Mexican government."

Judge Cogan : "I don't think any of that matters."

[perhaps the bribes may be irrelevant–but the fact Cifuentes changed his story and can’t recall details, seems to be very relevant. In other words, it’s not the substance but the action by Cifuentes]

Cogan says he doesn’t want to waste the jury’s time---.

Here is Cogan's ruling below

The circus continues

Actor Alejandro Edda gave a press conference on the courthouse steps to a gaggle of reporters.  Whose idea was it to get the actor in?  Not the prosecutors for sure.

Chapo on the stand?

Attorney William Purpura asked when the judge would advise Chapo about his right to testify.  Silly question when one knows the answer to his own question.

It will be during the defense evidence/witnesses being presented.


After the government finished their case in chief, Judge Cogan then asked Chapo if he would be testifying.

Chapo spoke in open court answering:

Chapo: "Señor judge, me and my attorneys have spoken about this and I will reserve."

Judge: "Reserve?"

Chapo: "Yes, I will not testify."

About consulting with his attorneys regarding his taking the witness stand, "Yes, they counseled me about it and I agree with them."

The government’s case in chief was over 35 days of testimony, and 13 cooperators took the stand as part of their agreement with the feds, when they entered into plea deals, affording them such criminal candy such as; shorter sentences, protective witness program for them and their families, who were brought from Mexico for their safety, even allowing them to keep some of their dirty drug money, “to get started in their new life”, employment etc.

This is the normal in the failed drug war, makes deals, “overkill” with too many number of deals made with bad criminals who are as bad or worse than the defendant in this case.  Yes, Chapo must pay for his criminality, but did the prosecution really need to make deals with that many bad guys?

I say no.