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March 24, 2019

Chapo’s wife wears Star of David necklace for trial return as drug lord’s Sean Penn interview continues to haunt him

January 9, 2019
Emma Coronel Aispuro, wife of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, leaves federal court in New York, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. (Seth Wenig / AP)

El Chapo’s wife returned to his drug trial wearing a Star of David necklace Tuesday — but she wasn’t making any particular point with the sartorial selection, her hubby’s lawyer claimed.

While the Star of David is a widely recognized symbol of Jewish identity, lead defense lawyer Eduardo Balarezo said Emma Coronel Aispuro wasn’t attempting to sway anyone with a show of solidarity.

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“It is not a religious statement. She received it as a gift, and its six points refer to air, water, fire, earth, light and darkness,” Balarezo told the Daily News. “It was a gift.”

Coronel, 29, walked into the Brooklyn federal courthouse with the notable necklace displayed prominently over a black turtleneck and blew kisses to her husband, whose real name is Joaquín Guzmán Loera.

“I’m happy to see him,” Coronel told The News, referring to her husband.

Asked how it felt to sit through hours of testimony after her holiday break, she sighed.

“I want to go to sleep,” she said with a laugh.

She laughed again and declined to comment when asked why the pendant was conspicuously absent from her neck after the lunch break.

The former beauty queen was last seen in the courtroom Dec. 20, when she brought the couple’s 7-year-old twin daughters for a surprise visit dressed in matching white blazers and black bows in their hair.

Chapo, 61, was visibly thrilled to see his wife back in the gallery after her holiday break spent back home in Mexico with their girls.

His demeanor later darkened when FBI agent Stephen Marston took the witness stand and all but thanked the Mexican drug lord for the 2015 video interview he recorded for actor Sean Penn and Mexican-American actress Kate Del Castillo as part of a profile published by Rolling Stone.

Marston said the interview was exactly the type of lengthy recording investigators needed to use voice recognition technology and identify Chapo on hundreds of wiretapped calls.

The agent said the calls were collected after the Sinaloa Cartel’s tech guru flipped sides as part of a covert operation.

Marston said the sting operation started when investigators lured the IT specialist, Cristián Rodríguez, to a Manhattan hotel room under the guise of a meeting with a fellow gangster in need of his own encrypted network.

He said it quickly became clear the technology was so sophisticated, the U.S. needed an inside guy.

A decision was made months later to approach Rodríguez again and convince him to switch sides. The FBI set up a meeting in Rodríguez’s home country of Colombia, and he agreed to become a proactive cooperator.

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Between April 2011 and January 2012, Rodríguez had the cartel’s servers moved from Canada to The Netherlands while he was working as a U.S. government informant.

Marston said Dutch authorities were in on the move and began passing along data to U.S. investigators, including 800 calls that ended up featuring Chapo on as many as 200.

The agent said the vocal recognition software learned Chapo’s voice from the Rolling Stone video as well as recorded calls Chapo made from the fortress-like Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan.

He described the narco’s voice as having a “sing-songy variation” and said investigators also drilled down to his calls based on how others called him “boss” and “sir.”

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