El Chapo sentenced to life in prison

1:59 p.m. ET, July 17, 2019

Our live coverage has ended. Scroll through the posts below to learn more about Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's sentencing, or read more here.

1:46 p.m. ET, July 17, 2019

"El Chapo" was sentenced to life in prison today. Here's what you need to know.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years Wednesday. The court also ordered Guzman to pay $12.6 billion in forfeit.

Here's what else you need to know about his case:

  • The charges: Guzman was found guilty on 10 federal charges, including murder conspiracies, running a continuing criminal enterprise and other drug-related charges. Guzman was the leader of the Mexican organized crime syndicate known as the Sinaloa Cartel.
  • What Guzman said: He spoke in the courtroom before the sentencing. Guzman said incarceration was "physical, emotional and mental torture" and "the most inhumane situation I have lived in my entire life."
  • What his defense said: One of Guzman's defense attorneys, Jeffrey Lichtman, said the trial was "not justice." He said Guzman did not receive a fair trial after the judge denied Guzman's request for a hearing to investigate possible juror misconduct.
  • What the prosecutors said: Brian A. Benczkowski, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, called the sentencing "a measure of justice" and added that Guzman won't be able to "pour poison over our borders."
  • What's next: Guzman is expected to be transported to the Supermax federal facility in Colorado — the same facility the Unabomber and Boston bomber are serving their sentences.
1:11 p.m. ET, July 17, 2019

El Chapo blew his wife kisses before and after his sentencing

In court today, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was smiling when he came in greeting his lawyers – first asking, “Y mi esposa?” (which means “And my wife?”).

He then saw her at her usual seat in the second row on the right hand side of the court, blew her a kiss, and tapped his hand on his heart twice while looking at her. 

Emma Coronel Aispuro returned the kiss and blew it at him.

Guzman’s voice quivered several times during his statement to the court. 

“First of all I want to thank my wife and my children for their unconditional love and support during this long proceeding,” Guzman said. 

When Guzman was thanking his wife, she could be seen leaning forward and bending her head down.

On the way out of court after hearing his sentence, Guzman again blew his wife two kisses, which she returned in what could possibly be the moment of their final goodbye.

When asked prior to sentencing if today is the last time Guzman will see his wife, defense attorney William Purpura said, “That's a good question. The way things stand right now, unfortunately, yes.”

11:15 a.m. ET, July 17, 2019

El Chapo attorney: "You’re never going to remove the stink from this verdict"

One of El Chapo's defense attorneys, Jeffrey Lichtman, said this trial was "not justice." He said to reporters outside the courthouse following Guzman's sentencing that his client behaved like a gentleman, and that he respects the American justice system.

“All he wanted, and he said to me from day one, ‘I just want a fair trial. You tell me that I can get justice here, I just want a fair trial.’ And at the end of the day, we like to pretend that it was justice—it was not justice. You can’t have a situation where jurors are running around lying, lying to a judge, lying to a judge about what they were doing and learning about allegations that were purposely kept out by the government,” he said.

Lichtman said the trial, and the $12.6 billion El Chapo is required to forfeit, is all part of a show.

“It’s a fiction. It’s part of the show trial that we’re here for," Lichtman said. "They’ve been looking for his assets for how long, decades?"

When Lichtman was asked about supermax federal prison in Florence, Colorado where Guzman is expected to spend the rest of his life, he said, “You can bury Joaquin Guzman under tons of steel in Colorado, and make him disappear, but you’re never going to remove the stink from this verdict due to the failure to order a hearing on the misconduct of the jury in this case”.

More context: The identities of the jurors who decided El Chapo's fate have remained anonymous for their own safety. But shortly after the verdict, one juror spoke to Vice News anonymously and alleged a wide range of possible juror misconduct, ranging from following news reports about the trial, which was expressly forbidden, to lying to Judge Cogan about whether they'd been exposed to certain media reports.

Cogan denied Guzman's request for a new trial and a hearing to investigate the claims.

1:28 p.m. ET, July 17, 2019

US attorney: "Never again will Guzman pour poison over our borders"

Brian A. Benczkowski, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, called Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's sentencing "a measure of justice" for the US and Mexico.

“Today brings a measure of justice for the American people, it brings a measure of justice for the country of Mexico," he said at a news conference after the sentencing.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, also spoke:

"This sentence is significant and it is well deserved. It means that never again will Guzman pour poison over our borders, making billions, while innocent lives are lost to drug violence and drug addiction"

Donoghue had a warning for other would-be drug lords.

“The same fate awaits anyone who would seek to take his place," he said.

10:42 a.m. ET, July 17, 2019

El Chapo: "There was no justice here"

Before he was sentenced Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman spoke in court to say the trial was unfair.

“There was no justice here,” he told the court room in Spanish, which was reiterated through an English interpreter

El Chapo spoke about the anonymous juror who spoke to Vice Media about alleged juror misconduct.

“You didn’t want to bring the jury back,” he said. “You allege that the action of the jury was not important because there was a lot of evidence against me.”

“Why did we go to trial?" he added. “Why not sentence me the first day? The jury was not necessary then.”

El Chapo, wearing a gray suit and dark tie, spoke for about 10 minutes. He also complained about the conditions of his incarceration in New York. 

“It’s been torture, the most inhumane situation I have lived in my entire life,” he said of his incarceration.

He added: “It has been physical, emotional and mental torture."

He also thanked his family and friends and supporters.

El Chapo sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years.

10:19 a.m. ET, July 17, 2019

JUST IN: El Chapo sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years

A federal judge sentenced Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to life in prison plus 30 years, according to the US Attorneys for the Eastern District of New York.

The Court also ordered “El Chapo” to pay $12.6 Billion in forfeiture.

Restitution will be determined later.

Before today's sentencing, attorney Mariel Colon — who has visited Guzman regularly in prison before, during and after his trial — said she is optimistic about his chances on appeal.