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Will Sean Penn Face Criminal Charges for His Interview With El Chapo?
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Summary: Will Sean Penn face criminal charges after his controversial interview with El Chapo?

On Sunday night, Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais called actor and self proclaimed non-wife beater Sean Penn a “snitch.”

  
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Gervais was referring to a controversial interview Penn did for Rolling Stone with Mexican fugitive, Joaquin Guzman Loera, a.k.a. El Chapo. After the interview in which Guzman bragged about his crimes, he was captured by authorities. The meeting was reportedly arranged by Mexican actress Kate del Castillo.

Penn being a snitch is arguable, but can authorities argue he harbored a fugitive?

Section 1071 of the federal code bars people from harboring fugitives. This includes concealing them or preventing the fugitive’s discovery and arrest.

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Guzman escaped from a Mexican prison and was missing for about a year until Penn’s interview helped Mexican authorities locate the elusive drug kingpin. Now experts are questioning whether or not Penn can be prosecuted under Section 1071. Most experts think Penn cannot be, unless he provided money, information or resources to Guzman that helped him evade capture.

ABA Journal reports that although a criminal conviction is unlikely, Penn could have to testify in Guzman’s trial. It also reports there are rumors that Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating the actor for his ties to Guzman. People magazine reports the Mexican government is also investigating Penn.



In the interview, Guzman openly bragged about his crimes.

“I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats,” Guzman said.

Guzman’s bragging and Penn’s seemingly wide-eyed admiration for him brought disgust to people such as White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and presidential candidate Marco Rubio.

“If one of these American actors who have benefited from the greatness of this country, who have made money from our free enterprise system, want to go fawn all over a criminal and a drug trafficker in their interviews, they have a constitutional right to do it. I find it grotesque,” Rubio said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Legal experts said Penn wasn’t obligated to disclose his meeting beforehand, but he could be prosecuted if he made false statements on government forms while traveling.

So was the piece worth it for Penn, Guzman or Rolling Stone? Time will tell, but remember, Sean, snitches get stitches.

Source: ABA Journal

Lead photo courtesy of Rolling Stone



 

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