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Allowing El Chapo in same room as lawyers would cost six figures

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 6 days ago Andrew Keshner

Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman has escaped from two Mexican prisons, and prosecutors argue exposed wires and pipes in the attorney visiting room offered ways Guzman, 60, could spark chaos and go for a third escape. - HO/AFP/Getty Images © Provided by New York Daily News Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman has escaped from two Mexican prisons, and prosecutors argue exposed wires and pipes in the attorney visiting room offered ways Guzman, 60, could spark chaos and go for a third escape. - HO/AFP/Getty Images Letting El Chapo in the same room as his lawyers would cost a fortune — and not because of any attorney fees.

Renovating a meeting area so the reputed drug kingpin could sit with his lawyers without Plexiglas between them could cost up to $150,000 and take years to finish, according to a filing released Tuesday.

The potential overhauls came as both sides haggle over the Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman's jail conditions at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Brooklyn federal prosecutors say there's no way they can safely accommodate a defense bid to get Guzman — a two-time escape artist from Mexican prisons — in the same room with his lawyers.

They've argued exposed wires and pipes in the attorney visiting room offered ways Guzman, 60, could spark chaos and go for a third escape.

But lawyers for Guzman, who’s in solitary confinement, complain the arrangements make it all but impossible to prepare for a massive drug trafficking trial that's set to start in seven months.

A report by an unnamed staffer at the lower Manhattan lockup, said making a "safe contact visit arrangement" would mean changing wall structures, moving fire systems, changing layouts and other "major demolition."

It could take up to six months just to get the green light on funding — and even that was subject to delay because of the Bureau of Prisons' current efforts to repair facilities damaged in Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Once the money’s in place, the job could take at least 18 months and possibly run up to 36 months to finish, the report said.

The filing noted authorities have been looking into modifying one visiting room so it could have a two-sided television that'd let Guzman and his lawyers look at digital documents at the same time.

Guzman's jailers have made other little tweaks in the past.

For example, several months ago, they said were hooking up Guzman — whose nickname means "shorty" — with an elevated chair so he could get a better peek at the case materials his lawyers were handling on the other side of the booth.

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