Social media users have been sharing posts which claim the world’s most infamous cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, testified in U.S. court that he paid off House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to keep the U.S-Mexico border open for drug cartels. This claim is untrue: Guzman did not testify in his U.S. trial and his defense lawyer confirmed this claim was not included in his defense or testimony.
Guzman, who twice escaped maximum-security prisons in Mexico, was extradited to the United States for trial in 2017 after he was arrested in Mexico the year before. After an 11-week trial in the United States, Guzman was found guilty in February 2019 of trafficking tons of cocaine, heroin and marijuana and engaging in multiple murder conspiracies as a top leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, long known as one of Mexico’s largest, most violent drug trafficking organizations (here , here).
In July 2019, he was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years (here , here). In February 2021, El Chapo’s wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, was arrested in the United States and detained on charges she conspired with her husband to run a multibillion-dollar drug enterprise while he was behind bars. (here , here).
El Chapo did not testify in his trial, as reported at the time by numerous news outlets including Reuters here , Fox News here , NBC News here , The New York Times here and The Wall Street Journal here .
Jeffrey Lichtman, who represented El Chapo in the trial (here , here), confirmed to Reuters via email that the claim made in these posts was not part of his team’s defense or testimony in the U.S. trial.
Reuters found no evidence of news coverage of the claim having been made in the trial when it would have likely received coverage given the nature of the claim and Pelosi’s position.
Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for Pelosi, told Reuters via email that the claim Pelosi was paid off by El Chapo to keep the U.S-Mexico border open for drug cartels is false.
False. Guzman did not testify in his U.S. trial and his defense lawyer confirmed to Reuters that the claim in the post was not part of his defense.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
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