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Tag: trial

Jury to Decide El Chapo’s Fate After 35 Days of Surreal Testimony

‘El Chapo’ Guzman

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The fate of notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is now in the hands of a jury.

The jury heard 35 days of surreal, outlandish and often gruesome testimony from 56 government witnesses.

The seven women and five men on the jury are expected to begin deliberating Monday to determine whether the notorious 61-year-old conspired to murder countless rivals, traffic nearly 450,000 pounds of cocaine and launder millions of dollars.

During close arguments Thursday, Guzman’s attorneys told the jury to dismiss the government’s case because it relies on witnesses who “lie, steal, cheat, deal drugs and kill people,” NBC News reports.

Prosecutors said the trial provided an “avalanche of evidence” to prove Guzman’s guilt.

Guzman stayed quiet during the trial and declined to testify in his own defense.

“Señor judge, me and my attorneys have spoken about this,” Guzman said, “and I will reserve.”

His life is now in the hands of a jury.

Second Trial Begins for Border Patrol Agent Who Killed Teenager in Cross-Border Shooting

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Border Patrol agent who killed a 16-year-old boy in a cross-border shooting is facing a second trial after he was acquitted of murder earlier this year.

Lonnie Swartz’s second trial was set to begin Tuesday morning on charges of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, about five years after he fatally shot Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez.

A jury in April acquitted Swartz of murder but deadlocked on the manslaughter charges.

Swartz has been on leave while facing trial.

Prosecutors have argued that Swartz was tired of rock-throwers, so he shot across the border in revenge, killing Rodriguez.

His defense attorneys argue Swartz opened fire because he was protecting himself.

A separate lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of Rodriguez’s mother is wending its way through the courts.

Mueller Ended Plea Deal Talks with Manafort Before Second Trial in September

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller put an end to negotiations for a last-minute plea deal between his prosecutors and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Manafort’s legal team began plea discussions while jurors were deliberating after closing arguments in their client’s fraud case in which he ultimately was convicted of eight of 18 counts tax and bank fraud, the Wall Street Journal reports

The plea talks involved Manafort’s upcoming Washington D.C. trial, but they fell apart after Mueller expressed unknown concerns and objected to a potential deal.

The specifics of the potential deal were unclear.

Manafort’s convictions last week came about a month before his second trial is set to begin Sept. 17 on charges of lying to federal investigators and failing to register as a foreign agent.

Border Patrol Agent’s Murder Trial Begins This Week in Beheading Case

Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna

Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The trial begins this week for a Border Patrol agent accused of capital murder and drug trafficking.

Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna, along with his two brothers and two associates, are charged in the beheading death of Jose Francisco Salacios Paz, the Texas Tribune reports. 

Prosecutors say Paz was killed because he knew too much.

Jury selection begins Tuesday morning.

Cameron County Assistant District Attorney Gus Garza expressed optimism that there’s enough evidence to convict Luna and his brothers.

“The state alleges that this group, the brothers, were conducting a criminal enterprise, of moving drugs, selling drugs. Later on, we also learned that they were moving weapons, and Franky was going to snitch on them,” Garza told The Texas Tribune. “In order to silence him and not have their enterprise disclosed to law enforcement — that’s why he was killed.”

Border Patrol Agent Headed to Trial for Allegedly Lying to Federal Authorities

border patrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol agent accused of lying to federal agents about a drug conspiracy case is headed to trial in early January.

Eduardo Bazan Jr. pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court, the Monitor reports. 

Bazan, 48, of Edinburg, was arrested on Nov. 3 and has been on administrative leave since.

Authorities allege he lied to Homeland Security investigators during an Oct. 31 interview.

“Bazan admitted he had lied to agents Oct. 31, 2016, and that Bazan had in fact received information from an individual that led to a seizure of 66 kilograms of cocaine; seized on Feb. 18, 2007,” the criminal complaint reads.

According to the complaint, Bazan admitted he lied to federal agents about th presence of suspects at the scene of the seizure.

“Bazan stated he had run from the scene to make other agents believe the vehicle had been occupied. Bazan further admitted that he had received a payment of approximately $8,000 for assisting the (Drug Trafficking Organization) with the staged seizure,” the court document states.

Occupiers of Oregon Wildlife Refuge Found Not Guilty in Jury Trial

Burns, Oregon, where the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is located.

Burns, Oregon, where the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is located.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The trial involving seven people who participated in the armed occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon ended Thursday with each defendant found not guilty of federal conspiracy charges.

Judge Anna Brown announced that the defendants – the standoff’s leader, Ammon Bundy, his brother Ryan and five others – were not guilty of conspiracy to impede federal officers and not guilty of possession of firearms in a federal facility, the Washington Post reports. 

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, expressed disappointment over the jury’s decision.

“The occupation of the Malheur Refuge by outsiders did not reflect the Oregon way of respectfully working together to resolve differences,” Brown said in a statement Thursday.

Defendant Shawna Cox said the acquittal was a victory for the Constitution.

“We have to be vigilant people,” she told reporters. “Wake up, America, and help us restore the Constitution. Don’t sleep with your head in the sand.”

DEA Employees Seek to Prevent Release of Videos of Lap Dances at Trial

dea-logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

DEA employees charged with lying during national security background checks are trying to avoid the embarrassing release of lap dances during their trial.

Civilian employees and a former officials of the DEA are accused of lying about their ownership of a trip club in South Hackensack, N.J.

Now defense attorneys are trying to prevent the government from introducing the lap dance video into evidence, the New York Times reports. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/13/nyregion/dea-employees-facing-trial-seek-to-bar-lap-dance-video.html

“The prejudicial effect of the videos would be colossal if they are introduced as evidence at trial,” defense lawyers argued in court papers filed on Monday.

Prosecutors want to provide evidence that the defendants used largely illegal immigrants as dancers.

The government wants to show the jury sexually graphic footage of four lap dances recorded at the club.

Border Patrol Agent Charged with Murdering Mexican Teenager Set for Trial in November

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent who has been charged with murder after shooting and killing a Mexican teenager through a border fence is expected to face a trial in November.

Nov. 7 is the trial date set by U.S. District Court Judge Raner C. Collins.

Border Patrol agent Lonnie Ray Swartz was charged with second-degree murder in September in the killing of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, AZCentral reports. 

The trial has been delayed multiple times.

The teenager’s mother, Araceli Rodriguez, said she hopes the right jury is selected.

“I hope that the jury that is deciding the case has morals, is a jury made up of members who have children, is a jury that knows good from bad, that can distinguish the truth from lies,” she said. “I hope that the jury leans towards justice. To choose justice.”

The U.S. government intends to call eight expert witnesses at the trial, including a ballistics expert and three forensic medical examiners.