Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman will be tried in US in April 2018


NEW YORK (AP) — A U.S. judge today set an April 2018 trial date for Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman on charges he oversaw a multibillion-dollar international drug trafficking operation responsible for murders and kidnappings.

Guzman answered the judge's questions through an interpreter. He spent half the hearing looking across the courtroom at his wife, who smiled and waved to him as she entered.

Defense lawyers complained that glass separated them from the defendant during their meetings, hindering communications. The judge said the matter will be investigated.

The 59-year-old defendant famous for twice escaping from prison in Mexico lost his bid Thursday to relax the terms of his confinement at a lower Manhattan lockup when U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan concluded that solitary confinement was appropriate.

Judge Cogan said the U.S. government had good justifications for applying tough jail conditions on a man who escaped twice, including once through a milelong tunnel stretching from the shower in his cell. But Judge Cogan relaxed the restrictions known as Special Administrative Measures enough for Guzman to communicate with his wife through written questions and answers.

His lawyers said in a statement that it was "devastating" for Guzman and his wife that they will not be allowed jail visits.

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