Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' to go on trial in April 2018

Joaquin Guzman was extradited to the United States in January.

The trial date was set at the end of a hearing today in Brooklyn federal court in New York City. The drug kingpin appeared in court today in connection to the four potential witnesses in his case who have been convicted of crimes, preventing his federal public defenders from cross-examining them.

Guzman, appearing in navy scrubs and bright orange sneakers, told the court he wishes to keep his attorneys.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan today also addressed the defense's request to sit in the same room with Guzman at the high-security Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan where Guzman is being housed while preparing for trial. The defense asked for this change, saying they have 10,000 pages of discovery to go over and otherwise must hold up each page to the acrylic glass while meeting with Guzman.

Cogan referred a magistrate judge to visit the correctional facility to see whether there is a secure location where the defense and Guzman, 60, can meet.

Guzman, who was most recently recaptured in Mexico in January 2016, was extradited to the United States in January 2017 for alleged drug crimes.

The government is also demanding that Guzman surrender $14 billion "in drug proceeds and illicit profits," the Department of Justice said, profits that he allegedly smuggled into Mexico from the United States.

Guzman has twice escaped from prison in Mexico. The most recent escape was in 2015; he was recaptured in January 2016 and was extradited to the United States this January.

Robert Capers, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, earlier this year called Guzman's extradition a "milestone," saying that federal prosecutors from around the United States spent well over a decade investigating the suspect's alleged criminal activities.

His next status hearing is set for Aug. 15.