U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan has agreed with U.S. prosecutors that the jurors for the Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman case will remain anonymous. The ruling comes after the judge agreed that the jurors' safety was important and they didn't want them to fear potentially being harassed or intimidated.
The jurors--who will be escorted to and from the Brooklyn courthouse by deputy U.S. marshals-- will be isolated from the public while inside during the trial. In the written order, Cogan explained that the prosecutors provided "strong and credible reasons" as to why the jury needs this protection. One of those reasons were the fact that Guzman allegedly used hitmen to carry out acts of violence in the past.
On Tuesday, Guzman's attorney, Eduardo Balarezo, stated that his client was disappointed in the ruling. "All he is asking for is a fair trial in front of an impartial jury," Balarezo said in his statement.
At this time, Guzman has pleaded not guilty to charges of running an international drug trafficking operation.
He is due back in court on Feb. 15 for a pretrial hearing. The trial is set to begin in the fall.
We'll update you all as the story develops.