El Chapo will be tried in the US in April 2018

Guzman, the alleged billionaire leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, appeared before U.S. District Judge Brian M. Cogan on Friday morning for a curcio hearing to determine if he wanted to retain Michelle A. Gelernt and Michael K. Schneider, of Federal Defenders of NY, as his attorneys.

Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman (wah-KEEN' ehl CHAH'-poh gooz-MAHN') returns to a Brooklyn courtroom as his lawyers fight to relieve restrictive jail conditions.

Lawyers for Guzman had no immediate comment Thursday. The attorneys complained to Cogan that if conditions continue as they are right now, they will have to hold up thousands of documents in front of the plexiglass window when planning legal strategy for their client's trial.

Guzman appeared in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, at a hearing to determine whether he can be represented by federal public defenders, CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton reports.

As the judge pressed through questions to be sure Guzman had been properly informed of potential conflict-of-interest issues and was not pressured into keeping his lawyers, the defendant said: "Yes, sir, I am making my own decisions". Security was tight at the hearing, with four U.S. Marshals surrounding Guzman.

Judge Brian Cogan denied a motion on Thursday to move Joaquin Guzman to the general inmate population at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Michelle Gelernt, an attorney for Guzman with the Federal Defenders of NY, groused that Guzman can not read any of the documents in the enormous case file unless his attorneys hold them up one page at a time against the Plexiglas dividing them in meetings.

Splitting the difference, Cogan ruled: "I want to refer it to a magistrate judge".

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Guzman has been denied family visitation in prison, but an intriguing plot twist regarding his bloodline trailed the unfolding legal drama.

The drug lord has twin daughters with his second wife, who is 30 years younger than him, and has a father who was jailed in Mexico for drug trafficking on behalf of Guzman's Sinaloa cartel.

"Thank you, but I would like to continue with the attorneys I've had until today", Guzman said. He had previously escaped from two Mexican prisons.

The Guardian meanwhile has stood by its original article.

"As of today, U.S. authorities have not found not even one dollar of El Chapo's assets", Mexican Attorney General Raul Cervantes said in a TV interview yesterday, via The Guardian. "I would prefer he remain in the United States", she said.

"In the country of democracy", he laughed, before walking away to seek a New York City taxi.

He set the next pre-trial hearing for Aug 15.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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