- Day 5 of deliberations are done. We're headed into Day 6. Chapo looked pretty cheerful when the marshals brought him out for the read back. He shook hands with his whole legal team, waved to his wife, all with a big smile on his face.
- So far jury notes have largely been requests for testimony and evidences. As long as jurors are focused on the evidence it's not a good look for Chapo. The evidence was as overwhelming as it comes. To scrutinize it, however closely, suggests jurors are leaning toward verdict.
- Chapo's lawyers don't really want a verdict because, in the world of the evidence, there's really only one verdict that 12 jurors can return unanimously: guilty. Playing the odds, their best shot at a positive outcome is dissension leading to a hung jury and mistrial.
- Today could be decisive--again speculation warning--because yesterday was the first time the jury sent a note hinting that there may be dissension in their ranks. The note asked if they had to reach a unanimous decision on the 27 sub-counts listed under the top charge, Count 1.
- If the jury sends a note saying there's a verdict today, that's not good for Chapo.
If the jury sends a note saying they want more evidence, it's still not great for him. But if the jury sends a note hinting at more dissension that would mark a turning point in the deliberations.
More on the Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE) charge:
- It has various elements, 27 sub-violations, even three “special questions” that would trigger a mandatory life sentence if the jury finds Chapo guilty of it.
- To convict on the CCE, the jury needs to unanimously decide that Chapo committed at least 3 of the 27 violations. They also have to decide that he did so in concert w/at least 5 other people, had a leadership role in the enterprise and derived substantial income from it.
Then, to trigger the mandatory life sentence, they have to answer 3 more questions:
* Was 150 kgs of coke involved in at least 1 violation?
* Did the enterprise earn at least $10 million in a 12-month period?
* Was Chapo one of its principal administrators?
- The CCE is a powerful tool that, if successful, would send a message that Chapo was guilty of major and continuing crimes—and send him to prison for the rest of his life. The price of using it though is that it’s not the typical thumbs up-thumbs down/guilty-not guilty decision.
- Chapo looked a little stunned sitting with his lawyers and listening to the guilty verdicts come in through translation. When the verdict was complete, Chapo glanced at his wife Emma Coronel. With tears in her eyes, she flashed him a thumbs up.
- Fully armed US marshals in battle gear—helmets, night vision goggles, vests—are now stationed in the courtroom lobby.
- Chapo’s sentencing is scheduled for June 25. He faces mandatory life in prison after the jury found YES on the three special questions attached to the top continuing criminal enterprise charge.
- Prosecution and lawyers will speak to the media soon.