By Rob Abruzzese
It’s been about two years since Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has hugged his wife and he’s going to have to wait at least until his trial is over — if he’s ever going to be able to again.
Attorneys for Guzman, who pleaded not guilty to charges that he oversaw a violent drug cartel, asked U.S. District Court Judge Brian Cogan to grant the alleged kingpin a “humanitarian gesture” of letting Guzman hug his wife.
A letter from the defense attorney argued that, “an embrace with the railing between them would not pose a threat to security.”
Judge Cogan did not buy this argument and officially denied the motion on Thursday. He cited the need for strict security involving a man known for breaking out of prison.
“The Court recognized that the [Special Administrative Measures] are tailored to the government’s legitimate objectives of preventing defendant from coordinating any escape from prison or directing any attack on individuals who might be cooperating with the government,” Judge Cogan wrote in his decision.
“The same concerns that warranted their implementation in the first place still exist today,” Cogan went on to say in the decision. “If anything, this is especially true on the eve of trial, when the reality of the potential liability defendant faces if convicted may be setting in and his motivation to escape or threaten witnesses might be particularly strong.”
The severity of the security measures surrounding this trial has garnered a lot of attention. Federal marshals have even gone so far as to shut down the Brooklyn Bridge when transporting Guzman from his holding cell in Manhattan to the Brooklyn courthouse.
The court also spent three full days trying to pick an anonymous jury because the U.S. Attorney fears for their safety. The judge has not yet sworn in the jurors out of concern that some will still try to get out of the trial that is expected to last as long as four months.
Guzman’s trial is slated to start on Tuesday, Nov. 13.