190129 Chapo
Actor Alejandro Edda talks to reporters outside federal court in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. Image Credit: AP

New York: The actor who plays Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in the Netflix hit “Narcos: Mexico” made an appearance in a federal courtroom in Brooklyn on Monday, taking advantage of an unusual opportunity to study his character in real life.

Afterwards, Mexican actor Alejandro Edda, 34, said he found the experience “intimidating.”

Even more surreal — a journalist who had been in touch with the Mexican actor introduced him to Guzman’s lawyer Eduardo Balarezo, who then explained to the defendant who he was.

El Chapo, sitting just a few metres away, gave him a big smile.

“I came to study a man who in a certain sense is a myth, a legend,” Edda told reporters.

“I became nervous, when he saw me and greeted me from a distance,” he said. “It was intimidating in a certain sense.”

Edda said Guzman, who headed Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel for a quarter-century, struck him as “very attentive, focused,” aware of everything going on around him.

He said he had “mixed feelings” about the man and his trial.

“As an actor, I am investigating a human being,” he said. “I pay attention to mannerisms — his look, how he touched his face.”

“In a human sense, he is strong, he is sad, you feel all the power of the United States against one person. The man does not speak English. I feel that in a certain sense, he is caged in a foreign place.”

“But speaking as a Mexican, the man must pay for his crimes. There are many people, thousands, who have died because of drug trafficking,” Edda said.

Guzman is accused of trafficking more than 155 tons of cocaine and other drugs into the United States over a 25-year period. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

The trial is in its final stages, with the prosecution thought likely to finish presenting its evidence this week, after which it will be the defense’s turn.

Although some thought Guzman might testify, he said Monday that he would not take the stand.

“I will not testify,” Guzman told Judge Brian Cogan, saying he had consulted with his attorneys. “They’ve advised me and I agree.”

Closing arguments will begin on Wednesday and the jury could begin deliberations by week’s end.