Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman told a judge Monday that he won’t take the witness stand in his own defense at his U.S. drug-trafficking trial, ending speculation that he might go for broke and build on a notorious reputation already cemented by the sprawling government case against him.
“Your honor, me and my attorneys have spoken about this. and I won’t testify,” Guzman said through a Spanish interpreter in a rare instance of him standing up and speaking in court.
The decision, along with the defense’s plan to call only two brief witnesses, could bring the trial to a sooner-than-expected conclusion. Closing arguments were set to begin Wednesday with deliberations starting as soon as Friday afternoon.
Guzman’s lawyers say he’s being framed by a cadre of cooperators who were far more culpable in the Sinaloa cartel’s wildly lucrative drug-smuggling enterprise.