The feds want to keep jurors from hearing about Sean Penn’s Rolling Stone interview with El Chapo that officials said was critical to the notorious drug kingpin’s capture in 2016, according to court papers filed Tuesday.
Prosecutors in Brooklyn federal court have asked a judge to preclude any references to the “misleading” article from El Chapo’s upcoming trial.
They say the defense could use it to evoke sympathy from jurors — or to minimize his conduct or provide an alternate explanation for his motives.
In the January 2016 story, Penn characterizes El Chapo — whose real name is Joaquín Guzmán — as the true “president of Mexico,” a “Robin Hood-like figure” and a “businessman” who “unlike many of his counterparts [does not] engage in gratuitous kidnapping and murder,” prosecutors wrote in the filing.
The feds say those statements are “irrelevant and unduly prejudicial, confusing and misleading.”
Jury selection in Guzmán’s trial is slated to begin Sept. 5. Jurors will remain anonymous and be partially sequestered for the duration of the trial.