“It’s a lie, absurd speculation from Mr. Penn,” Juan Pablo Badillo, a member of Guzman’s legal team, revealed to Reuters in a Wednesday interview. After years of working with the kingpin, Badillo — who considers Guzman a “very intelligent” man — doesn’t believe that he would voice such a self-incriminating statement to Penn.
Badillo continued, “In a way, yes, it does complicate it (his defense). Mr. Penn should be called to testify to respond about the stupidities he has said.”
Guzman was recaptured Friday, nearly six months after plotting a successful escape from Mexico’s most secure prison. During his spree as a fugitive, Guzman reached out to various producers and actors in hopes of developing a film about his life. One of those actors was Penn. After agreeing to a discreet interview with the infamous drug lord in October, the Oscar winner published an article in Rolling Stone, publicly documenting the experience. The Jan. 9 publication of Penn’s interview ultimately enabled authorities to relocate Guzman, police said.
In the Rolling Stone piece, Penn quotes Guzman as stating, “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats” — the statement that Badillo is now claiming to be falsified.
Though there was initial speculation that Penn could be incriminated for conducting an interview with a wanted fugitive without notifying authorities, Mexican police are not directly investigating Penn, but rather the details of how the actor — along with Mexican actress Kate del Castillo — were able to organize the meeting.