Mexican druglord El Chapo asks judge to let him show up in person for court appearances

Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman, the extradited drug kingpin who pulled off past escapes from Mexican prison, wants out from jail for an upcoming court date — and for every future court date in his high-profile case.

Guzman is scheduled to have his next court appearance this Friday in a case that includes charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and involvement in 12 murder conspiracies.

Following two past prison breaks in Mexico, Guzman is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan. The lockup has previously held defendants like Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing ringleader.

Brooklyn federal court Judge Brian Cogan said he expected the first hearing to be “brief and non-substantive,” so he was “inclined to have defendant present by video transmission only in order to minimize disruption from physical transportation.”

Guzman’s lawyers objected in a Monday filing. They asked for their client’s physical presence Friday and whenever the defense and prosecution met in court.

Guzman, held in solitary confinement, had a right to understand how the case would unfold and see the judge handling his case, wrote Michael Schneider and Michelle Gelernt of the Federal Defenders of New York.

This was especially necessary, given “the unusual nature of the extradition process,” they said.

While in Mexico, Guzman, 62, had been fighting the legality of extradition requests.

When he was put on a United States bound plane, Schneider and Gelernt said his lawyer in Mexico was waiting to meet with him, unaware of his client’s sudden departure.

“Guzman’s presence in court is necessary to ensure his faith in the fundamental fairness of the American judicial process,” they wrote.

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Cogan gave prosecutors a Wednesday deadline to answer the defense objections.

The judge also asked for both sides to submit a list of the topics they intend to discuss at the court date.

Prosecutors are pressing for a $14 billion forfeiture from Guzman.

In court papers filed last week, they anticipated Guzman would hire his own lawyer. But if he stuck with appointed attorneys, the government asked Cogan to inquire on whether Guzman was financial eligible for an appointed lawyer.