Hollywood star Sean Penn lied when he reported that Mexican kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman told him he is the world’s foremost drugs trafficker, and he should be called to testify, according to one of Guzman’s lawyers.
Guzman was recaptured on Friday some six months after staging a spectacular prison break through a tunnel in his cell floor.
While on the run, Guzman met secretly with Penn at a jungle hideout – a move the government says was “essential” to his capture.
Penn published an article in Rolling Stone magazine on Saturday in which he quotes Guzman boasting about his drug shipments and laundering money through major Mexican and foreign companies.
“It’s a lie, absurd speculation from Mr Penn,” Juan Pablo Badillo, one of a team of Guzman lawyers, told Reuters newsagency in an interview on Wednesday.
“In a way, yes, it does complicate it (his defence). Mr Penn should be called to testify to respond about the stupidities he has said.
He said that based on years of working for Guzman, he was certain he would not make such a self-incriminating statement.
“He (Guzman) could not have made these claims … Mr Guzman is a very serious man, very intelligent.
“Where’s the proof? Where’s the audio?”
Penn said he was not allowed to record his in-person conversation with Guzman.
The Mexican fugitive later sent Penn a 17-minute video of answers after security issues stymied plans to hold a follow-up interview in person – and it does not contain the reported comments.
Penn, who met Guzman along with Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, wrote that Guzman proudly volunteered information on his illegal activities.
“I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats,” Penn quotes Guzman as saying.
A government spokesman said on Tuesday that Mexico was not directly investigating Penn or del Castillo but rather the circumstances around the meeting.
Badillo also said he was poised to file a legal challenge on behalf of Guzman, whom he has represented since 1993, against his being held in isolation.
The legal challenge is not a new tactic for Guzman’s lawyers.
Badillo filed seven previously during Guzman’s incarceration and after his escape.