Only days after his client’s capture and the highly controversial interview of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán by actor Sean Penn, Guzmán’s lawyer is calling the actor’s retelling of El Chapo’s drug trafficking claims “a lie” and “absurd speculation.”
Using an existing connection between Guzmán and Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, Penn secretly traveled to El Chapo’s hideout with del Castillo in October 2015. Guzmán was interested in putting del Castillo in charge of producing a biographical film about his life, and in the process of arranging this agreed to speak with Penn for several hours. Penn, who had to memorize the seven-hour long conversation because he was prohibited from using electronics or a pen and paper, published his account of the meeting through Rolling Stone magazine.
There were very few new revelations about El Chapo in the 10,000-word article. However, according to Penn’s account, Guzmán said, “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.” This contradicts Guzmán’s last known interview in 1993, when he said he wasn’t a drug trafficker, but just a simple farmer. This claim has also apparently angered Guzmán’s long-time lawyer Juan Pablo Badillo.
In an interview with Reuters, Badillo said, “Its a lie, absurd speculation from Mr. Penn. In a way, yes, it does complicate it (his defense). Mr. Penn should be called to testify to respond about the stupidities he has said.” Badillo said that based on years of working Guzman, he was certain he would not make such a self-incriminating statement. “He (Guzman) could not have made these claims… Mr Guzman is a very serious man, very intelligent.”
According to Newsweek, Badillo was planning on filing several legal challenges on Guzmán’s behalf to prevent his extradition to the U.S. This tactic is not new for the attorney, as he filed seven challenges previously during Guzman’s incarceration and after his escape.
Sylvia Longmire is a border security expert and Contributing Editor for Breitbart Texas. You can read more about cross-border issues in her latest book, Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren’t Making Us Safer.