Did El Chapo testify in U.S. court that he paid off House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to keep the Mexican/U.S. border open for drug cartels? No, that's not true. Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was found guilty in 2019 of 10 counts of drug trafficking, conspiracy to commit murder, money laundering and engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise. He did not take the stand during the trial, as national news outlets reported. "This is fake news," El Chapo's attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, told Lead Stories.
The claim appeared as a post (archived here) where it was published on Facebook on March 4, 2021. It opened:
El Chapo testified in U.S. court he paid off Nancy Pelosi to keep the Mexican/U.S. border open for drug cartels! Impeach Pelosi
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Mar 8 19:32:49 2021 UTC)
The trial of El Chapo took place in United States District Court in New York beginning in November 2018 and ending with the head of the Sinaloa cartel's guilty verdict in February 2019. He did not take the stand during the trial.
El Chapo's attorney Lichtman denied the claim to Lead Stories via email on March 8, 2021. Drew Hammill, Speaker Pelosi's spokesperson also told Lead Stories via email, "this is false," when asked about the claim.
The New York Times published an article on January 28, 2019 with the title, "The Prosecution Rests Its Case, And El Chapo Decides Not To Testify."
Fox News published an article detailing the trial titled, "Prosecution rests in 'El Chapo' trial after calling 56th and final witness."
NEW YORK CITY - Federal prosecutors rested their case Monday against accused drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who told the trial judge that he would not take the stand in his defense.
"I have spoken to my attorneys and I'm going to reserve," Guzman told U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Spanish when asked if he intended to testify. Cogan asked Guzman if he had been fully advised of his right to testify and if he was sure about waiving that right. Guzman answered yes to both questions before sitting down."
El Chapo was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years in July 2019, according to CNN.