Prosecution rests in 'El Chapo' trial after calling 56th and final witness

Federal prosecutors rested their case Monday against accused drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who told the trial judge that he would not take the stand in his defense.

"I have spoken to my attorneys and I'm going to reserve," Guzman told U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Spanish when asked if he intended to testify. Cogan asked Guzman if he had been fully advised of his right to testify and if he was sure about waiving that right. Guzman answered yes to both questions before sitting down.

Prosecutors have called 56 witnesses to testify against Guzman since the trial started in mid-November. By contrast, just one witness was scheduled to appear for the defense Tuesday after a second witness was unable to testify in person.

"One agent could not make it up to New York on short notice so it will be one witness and one stipulation on the other's testimony," defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman told Fox News.

Closing arguments are expected to take place Wednesday and Thursday. Judge Cogan said the jury could begin deliberations as soon as Thursday afternoon.


The trial got an unexpected dose of Hollywood flavor earlier in the day, as the actor playing Guzman in the hit Netflix series "Narcos: Mexico" took a seat in the courtroom behind Guzman.

Mexican actor Alejandro Edda said he came to the federal courthouse in Brooklyn as part of his research. Saying he had never seen Guzman, Edda said it was “surreal” to get an up-close look at the man facing life in prison for running the murderous Sinaloa Cartel.

Edda’s presence in the courtroom created a bit of a stir, prompting a U.S. marshal to remind those present “no hand gestures, no thumbs up. This isn’t Comedy Central. No laughing.”

Speaking after he left court, Edda said he felt shaken after seeing Guzman for the first time – particularly when the accused Sinaloa boss smiled at him. "It's the guy who everybody talks about doing all these things," he continued. "This guy's the leader of a big ... cartel … and, having him that close, it shook me. I'm intimidated by it."

Edda noted that as a Mexican well aware of the Sinaloa’s reputation, he felt very sad for the crimes allegedly ordered by Guzman. And he seemed to have already made up his mind about Guzman’s fate.


"I think he's guilty. There's many, many horrendous things that he did,” he told reporters outside the courtroom. "The sad part is I know he's not the only one. I know that not only the Sinaloan guys are the bad guys, there are many bad guys around us."

Edda didn’t speak to Guzman – who clearly knew who the actor was, and seemed to enjoy his presence – but he did have the time to greet Emma Coronel Aispuro, Chapo’s wife, who has been a constant presence at the trial. The two exchanged a kiss on the cheek as they greeted each other, chatted briefly, and rode an elevator together.

Bryan Llenas contributed to this report