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In February 2019, infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán was found guilty on 10 counts of federal charges after a three-month trial exposed the inner workings of his Sinaloa cartel, which funneled drugs into the United States for decades.
But some have used the kingpin’s high-profile trial to fuel viral misinformation on the internet.
We came across one of those rumors in a Facebook post, which claimed "El Chapo stated in court" that former FBI director James Comey "helped launder $150m cartel money for Pelosi." The post continued, saying, "it appears only those who were at the trial are aware of this. Maybe more people should bring this into the news."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Like the others, it is completely fabricated because Guzmán didn’t take the stand at all during his trial.
According to the trial’s transcript and several media reports, Guzmán chose not to testify at the trial and his defense only called one witness, FBI agent Paul Roberts. The agent was called to discuss notes he took about a drug trafficker previously involved with Guzmán, in an attempt to highlight discrepancies between the notes and the testimony the trafficker gave during the trial.
Alex Cifuentes, a former Guzmán associate, took the stand and testified that, among other Mexican officials paid off by Guzmán, former Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto took a $100 million bribe from the kingpin. But there was no testimony about Comey, Pelosi, or any other American official.
A post on Facebook says Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán took the stand and said James Comey helped launder $150 million "cartel money" for Nancy Pelosi.
This claim is unfounded. EGuzmán did not take the stand at his trial, and therefore could not have testified that his cartel gave millions to Comey, Pelosi or any American official.
This rumor is Pants on Fire!
Facebook post, Sept. 14, 2019
New York Times, El Chapo Found Guilty on All Counts; Faces Life in Prison, Feb. 12, 2019
Snopes, Did ‘El Chapo’ Testify That He Gave Millions to Pelosi, Schiff, and Clinton? Feb. 12, 2019
FactCheck.org, ‘El Chapo’ Trial Used To Spread Viral Deception, Feb. 15, 2019
Reuters, 'El Chapo' says he will not testify in his own defense, Jan. 28, 2019
CNN, Only one witness testified in El Chapo's defense, and it wasn't the drug lord, Jan. 29, 2019
PBS NewsHour, The ‘remarkable’ courtroom revelations in trial of ‘El Chapo’, Jan. 21, 2019
USA Today, El Chapo's lawyers call just one witness and rest their case, Jan. 29, 2019
Reuters, 'El Chapo' paid former Mexican president $100 million bribe: trial witness, Jan. 15, 2019
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