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‘El Chapo’ Jurors Could Face a Long-Term Threat: PTSD

The Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn where the trial of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is taking place is viewed on Feb. 4, 2019. (Credit: Don Emmert / AFP / Getty Images)

The Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn where the trial of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is taking place is viewed on Feb. 4, 2019. (Credit: Don Emmert / AFP / Getty Images)

From the moment they were called to serve in early November, jurors in the trial of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman have been subject to extraordinary precautions, a response to what federal court Judge Brian Cogan called “strong and credible reasons to believe the jury needs protection.”

Their identities are secret. Armed guards escort them to and from the Brooklyn courthouse. Even courtroom artists are forbidden to draw them, out of fear that they could become targets.

Yet with deliberations in the high-profile drug trafficking case underway, having starting Monday, and a verdict expected by the end of the week, the jurors are more likely to face a new threat — not from sicarios or paparazzi, as many might have feared, but from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“My research found a lot of jurors [in similar cases] exhibited signs of PTSD,” including nightmares, intrusive thoughts and such physical reactions as nausea and high blood pressure, said Sonia Chopra, a litigation consultant and a jury expert in Oakland. “The very least that can be done is provide them with services after the trial.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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