Breaking the Rules
February 20, 2019

A member of the jury from the Brooklyn trial of Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán told Vice News about his or her experience with the widely publicized case, detailing a daily routine that was rife with both excitement and a constant state of fear.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing," said the juror, whose identity was withheld. "This is the case of the century. Do I want to live it … or do I want to watch it on the screen?"

The juror told Vice News that while the 12 members were able to return to their homes every night, they had to meet at secret locations every morning and, in teams of five, hop into vans driven by U.S. Marshals to ensure their protection.

Initially, the juror said, the jury stuck to Judge Brian Cogan's orders to refrain from speaking about the case or following it on the news or social media. But curiosity eventually got the better of some members, who would whisper with each other about the next steps of the case during the ride home and follow what reporters were tweeting.

The Vice News report and the apparent violations of the judge's orders garnered a response from Guzmán's legal team, sparking speculation that they could appeal for a new trial, USA Today reported. Guzmán was found guilty last week on 10 counts that included narcotics trafficking.

"More disturbing is the revelation that the jury may have lied to the court and had seen some deeply prejudicial, uncorroborated, and inadmissible allegations against Mr. Guzmán on the eve of the beginning of jury deliberations," Jeffrey Lichtman, one of Guzman's defense attorneys, wrote in an email to Law & Crime. "Above all, Joaquín Guzmán deserved a fair trial."

The juror told Vice News, however, that the conversations and media exposure did not change anyone's mind. Tim O'Donnell

December 26, 2017

For 87 days in the spring and summer of 2010, a breached well under the Deepwater Horizon oil rig let more than 200 million gallons of crude oil gush freely into the Gulf of Mexico, in the largest oil spill in U.S. history and the worst marine oil spill on record. The initial April 20 explosion on the rig also killed 11 people. After five years of research and outside input, the Obama administration enacted well-control rules to prevent another such blowout. Now, The Wall Street Journal reports, the Trump administration wants to roll back many of those offshore-drilling rules, arguing that the industry should have more control over its own safeguards.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which regulates offshore oil and gas drilling, says its proposed rule changes would save the oil industry more than $900 million over the next decade. Among the changes noted by the Journal, the BSEE would ease rules that require oil production facilities to stream real-time data onshore, where regulators can currently access it; scrap a rule that only BSEE-certified inspectors monitor critical equipment like the blowout preventer that malfunctioned in the Deepwater Horizon debacle; and eliminate the word "safe" in rules regulators use to weigh drilling applications, because "safe" is redundant and could lead agency staff to exceed its authority.

The proposed regulatory rollback would give industry groups like the American Petroleum Institute, the Offshore Operators Committee, and the National Ocean Industries Association most of what they've sought from the Trump administration. Current BSEE director Scott Angelle — "a longtime advocate for the Gulf Coast oil industry," the Journal notes — argues that the Obama BSEE was too broad in its review and that the oil industry learned from the steep economic costs BP endured because of its Deepwater Horizon spill. You can read more about Deepwater Horizon at the Smithsonian's interactive site and more about the proposed rule changes at The Wall Street Journal. Peter Weber

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