By Gerardo Reyes @GerardoReyesC / Univision Investigative Unit @Uinvestiga
Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman escaped from Mexico’s Altiplano prison last month because he feared being extradited to the U.S. or even murdered, said the drug kingpin’s lawyer Juan Pablo Badillo in an exclusive interview with Univision.
“That was his intention, it was the solution to his fears; smartly he just knew: see you later, and broke away from jail”, said Badillo.
According to the lawyer, who claims to have known Guzman Loera since 1993, El Chapo, or Shorty, became very worried when he realized that the U.S. government was requesting his extradition.
Guzman met with Badillo in the Altiplano prison last November and asked him to carry out a legal strategy to impede his extradition. Badillo, who specializes in the protection of individual rights, described the meeting as follows:
“In the parlor number 12 of the Altiplano prison, he was very comfortable with my presence. He said: Sir, what a pleasure to see you. I told him: The pleasure is mine. Then he replied: I was afraid they couldn’t find you. I asked: Why? He answered: Because they told me you didn’t want to work in my defense. Then I told him: I am here to serve you, Sir.”Badillo added that Guzman Loera was very worried about the petition for extradition to the United States, and said he doesn’t know how El Chapo heard about the document because it was kept in secrecy by the Mexican government.
“Those are situations that put anyone in a state of nervousness or an emotional crisis,” explained Badillo, remembering the face of Guzman Loera at the meeting. “Obviously, I noticed he was greatly concerned, but in the end, he was calmed”.
Guzman Loera also feared “being murdered,” according to the lawyer.
When asked why Guzman Loera didn’t feel confident about not being extradited, if at the time of his capture in Mazatlan Sinaloa, the former Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said, El Chapo wouldn’t be extradited in the next 300 years, Badillo explained that his client considered that the Attorney General had incited the issue of his extradition with that statement.
It was the only occasion in which he said: “I am worried about that situation.”
In November 2014, Guzman Loera appointed Badillo as his lawyer through a document obtained by Univision, which clearly shows the signature of the Sinaloa Cartel leader.
During the following months, Badillo presented four appeals for legal protection and one of them achieved its goal: a court decision suspending the effects of any petition of extradition against Guzman Loera. In that appeal, Badillo alleged that U.S. authorities and other personalities prejudged El Chapo with condemnatory statements. Among those public figures, he quoted Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.