Mexican drugs kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman is escorted by police motorcade across the Brooklyn Bridge back to jail in lower Manhattan after his court appearance in Federal District Court, his last hearing before his trial (TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

New York (AFP) – The judge in the trial of Mexico’s Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, accused of running one of the world’s biggest criminal drug empires, said Wednesday his trial would get under way next month.

Jury selection is set for November 5 even though “El Chapo’s” attorneys insist that they cannot be ready to represent him due to the huge number of documents in the case.

The trial is expected to take four months.

Guzman, 61, is accused of running the Sinaloa crime syndicate and has been held in New York since being extradited to the United States on January 19, 2017, after twice escaping from prison in Mexico.

He faces 17 charges. If convicted, he is likely to spend the rest of his life in a maximum-security US prison.

Jeffrey Lichtman, one of his defense lawyers, told federal judge Brian Cogan it was still impossible to be prepared, in the last hearing before trial.

The judge denied his request for an additional delay.

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