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New York Today: New York Today: El Chapo’s $14 Billion Empire on Trial

New York Today: New York Today: El Chapo’s $14 Billion Empire on Trial

New York Today

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CreditCreditAlfredo Estrella/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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It’s Tuesday. ⚡️ “Officials say a squirrel is to blame for power outages that affected thousands of people in upstate New York.” [AP]

Weather: Enjoy the relative warmth of a 44-degree high with a passing morning shower, but beware: Thanksgiving is going to get very cold.

A remarkable drug conspiracy case is taking place at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. Few in any enterprise become as notoriously famous as the defendant, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, known as El Chapo.

Even fewer in Mr. Guzmán’s line of work have been forced to defend themselves in an American court.

For example, the Colombian kingpin Pablo Escobar never faced an American jury. It’s not easy to bring a drug lord to trial.

That’s what makes Mr. Guzmán’s trial, which could last four months, so exceptional: a chance to learn about the inner workings of an illegal, international, multibillion-dollar enterprise.

Here is what we’ve learned so far:

The dollars: $14 billion. That is how much prosecutors say Mr. Guzmán earned during his decades as the reputed leader of the Mexican-based Sinaloa drug cartel.

The delivery: Prosecutors say Mr. Guzmán loved to use tunnels. Last week, jurors heard about one tunnel used by Mr. Guzmán’s cartel that was “hidden under a pool table” in a building in Mexico. On the other end — in the United States — the tunnel led to a building two blocks from a Customs and Border Protection office in Arizona.

The defense: It’s a conspiracy. “The world is focusing on this mythical El Chapo creature,” Mr. Guzmán’s lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, said in his opening statement. “The world is not focusing on Mayo Zambada.” He was referring to Ismael Zambada, also known as El Mayo and alleged by one witness to be Mr. Guzmán’s equal partner.

The Times’s Alan Feuer is covering the trial and wrote about the challenges of covering such a high-profile, high-security event. His advice for anyone trying to attend the proceedings:

Arrive early for a 9:30 a.m. start. During the first week, those wanting a seat arrived by 6:45 a.m.

After you pass through the metal detector you will have to relinquish your cellphone, laptop and other devices. (This is normal for federal courts.)

Then, you’ll take the elevator to the eighth floor, find a second line of people outside the courtroom and wait for the next few hours.

That is the number of confirmed hate crime incidents in New York City this year through Nov. 11, according to the police. The figure was mentioned during a City Council hearing on Monday. [h/t Ali Winston]

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CreditElizabeth D. Herman for The New York Times

Remember the New York City election official who said that long voting lines on Nov. 6 were “the sign of a healthy and robust democracy”?

Well, that official, Michael Ryan, executive director of the Board of Elections in the City of New York, will answer questions about the mishaps at a City Council hearing this morning at 10.

Councilman Ritchie Torres of the Bronx, co-chairman of the hearing, said to expect “fireworks.”

Mr. Torres also told The Times he wants to know “why was the board so poorly prepared” for what was obviously going to be high turnout.

The hearing’s other co-chairman, Councilman Fernando Cabrera, also of the Bronx, said the jammed machines and long voting lines were a form of voter suppression.

Mr. Cabrera said he personally knew people who left their place in line and did not vote because of the long wait. “And that was all over the city.”

Speaking out: The city’s former inspections commissioner said he was fired by the mayor last week for releasing unflattering reports about the administration. The mayor denies the claim. [New York Times]

Busted: The rapper 6ix9ine, also known as Daniel Hernandez of Brooklyn, was arrested on federal racketeering and firearms charges on Monday. [New York Times]

Labor talks: Officials at Columbia University have agreed to negotiate with the graduate student union, a reversal from the school’s prior position, which led to a walkout in April. [Columbia Daily Spectator]

Holiday info: A map of the best holiday window displays. [CurbedNY]

Food for thought: “Would You Eat a Hot Cheetos Turkey?” [The Cut]

Alternate-side parking: in effect today and tomorrow, suspended Thanksgiving, back on Black Friday.

You asked, we heard you: Our daily events guide has returned.

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in the West Village will honor trans people lost to violence. 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. [Free]

Catch comedians Michelle Wolf and Amber Ruffin at The Bell House for a live taping of the NPR trivia show “Ask Me Another.” 7:30 p.m. (age 21 and over) [$15 advance / $20 door]

Teens can learn about the history of the Mexican wrestlers known as luchadores while learning to make lucha libre masks at the Van Cortlandt library branch in the Bronx. 3:30 p.m. [Free]

St. Francis College screens the Nina Simone documentary “What Happened Miss Simone?” at 11:10 a.m. [Free]

Head to the Brooklyn Historical Society to hear some of Guyana’s most notable literary figures discuss the impact of the community’s migration to Brooklyn. 6:30 p.m. [$5]

For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.

— Iman Stevenson

Dear Diary:

I took a bus from Framingham, Mass., to Manhattan. When I got off, my plan was to walk the 15 blocks home. But it was chilly and even though my suitcase was on wheels and my guitar was in a canvas gig bag, I raised my hand when I saw a taxi after I had walked five blocks.

The driver stopped, got out and put my suitcase and guitar in the trunk. I got in the back seat. I apologized for it being such short ride, but said that I was tired and cold.

I thought the driver was Spanish so I tried speaking a few words to him that I remembered from high school. He turned and told me he was from Bangladesh. I told him I was a granddaughter of immigrants myself, and I asked if he had any children.

“No,” he said. He paused, and then added: “But my wife is four months pregnant.”

I congratulated him, and then, without prompting, he continued.

“We are going to have triplets,” he said. “It’s very unusual, yes, and no one knows. We don’t want to tell our families yet — they will worry. We are not going to say anything until the time is much closer. Nobody knows.”

I asked him why, if no one else knew, he had told me.

He looked at me in the rear view mirror.

“I guess I’m very nervous about it,” he said. “The doctors say everything is perfect. Each tiny baby is perfectly placed, and my wife is healthy. But keeping this secret from everyone is not easy.”

Not for me, either, knowing there’s a cabdriver out there who’s going to be a first-time father of triplets in a few months.

Please drive carefully.

— Christine Lavin

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CreditBettman, via Getty Images

Last week, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority purchased Grand Central Terminal and hundreds of miles of train tracks from a private holding company for $35 million. Or in New York real estate terms, for the price of one “glass jewel box condominium” on Elizabeth Street.

The purchase saves the M.T.A. some money, but certainly not enough to cover its budget deficit.

So riders shouldn’t expect any discernible changes to service or fare prices as a result of Grand Central’s longtime renter becoming its owner. Mostly, it’s an administrative move.

The M.T.A. was paying $2 million annually to Midtown Track Ventures for the right to use the track and the station. The purchase also breaks the M.T.A.’s current 280-year lease to use Grand Central.

Enjoy your Tuesday.

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