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Court case an unexpected NYC tourist attraction

Knicks game. Ellis Island. Times Square. Criminal trial?

Once the world’s most wanted man, Joaquin Guzman is now on trial in New York City. 


But the court hearing of the Mexican, known colloquially as El Chapo, hasn’t just been drawing lawyers, witnesses and other officials; according to Associated Press, it has proven to be a hit with tourists, from near and afar, who want to catch a glimpse of the man up close. 


"It was surreal. It was like I was seeing the (Netflix) TV show 'El Chapo,'" said spectator Peter Stolt, who attended three days of the trial but wants to see at least one more day.


Wayne Burg and daughter,Lydia (Image AP PHOTO/CLAUDIA TORRENS)


Stolt, 23, stood in a line outside the building at around 6.30am to ensure he got a seat. By the sounds of it, he didn’t leave disappointed too, and was especially amazed by the testimony of a former assistant to Guzman who claimed to have survived several attempts on his life. 


Another spectator was Australian criminal lawyer, Wayne Burg, who saw the trial with his 21-year-old daughter during their December holiday in the city.


"The amount of drugs, the amount of money ... these are extraordinary levels," said Burg, 49, who ended up watching through a video feed in the overflow room, as there was no space in the courtroom.


"We had a great holiday, but the case was one of the highlights!"


Guzman’s wife, Emma Coronel, has also been present during the trial, and attracted her fair share of attention too.


El Chapo was extradited to the US last year to face charges that accuse him of running the drug-smuggling Sinaloa cartel.


According to AP, to enter the courthouse, spectators had to go through multiple layers of security including two metal detectors and a bag x-ray.


Would this be something you would want to see?


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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 19 December 2018

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