El Chapo’s lawyer won’t be sanctioned for possibly endangering witness

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Drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s lawyer will not be sanctioned for potentially endangering a witness who is expected to testify against the kingpin at his upcoming trial, a Brooklyn federal judge ruled Friday.

Prosecutors had asked Judge Brian Cogan to penalize Eduardo Balarezo for mentioning the witness in a text to the person’s attorney.

Balarezo had claimed the witness had been outed by the feds, but furious prosecutors denied it — and accused Balarezo of pulling information from confidential documents.

Balarezo countered that he identified the witness based on his own research.

While Cogan declined to sanction Balarezo, he wrote that he was “very concerned” by his conduct.

“He conveyed false information to a cooperating witness’s lawyer (and by extension, to the cooperating witness) when he stated in the text message that the Government ‘outed’ the witness,” the jurist wrote. “Although Mr. Balarezo claims that the text message was not malicious and did not convey any threats, his use of the term ‘outed’ plainly suggests that the government somehow failed to protect the witness’s identity from the public.”

Cogan warned Balarezo against reaching out to any suspected cooperating witnesses or their lawyers.

“Any future conduct like the kind at issue here will constitute a sanctionable violation of this order,” the judge wrote.

El Chapo’s trial on international drug trafficking charges is expected to begin Nov. 5.

If convicted, he faces life behind bars.

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