CHICAGO (WLS) -- The wife of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, once Chicago's Public Enemy Number One, is behind bars for life. His wife was due to be sentenced this month but the I-Team has learned her court date has been delayed.
Former beauty queen, turned drug felon, Emma Coronel, already pleaded guilty this summer in a cartel conspiracy but mysteriously her Washington, D.C. sentencing date was just put off for one month.
The U.S. born Coronel was a fixture at the trial of her husband, Sinaloa cartel kingpin El Chapo. Out of court she was a camera magnet. In court she sat through testimony that ended with her husband locked away for life.
In June, Emma Coronel herself pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute narcotics and financial crimes. She was to be sentenced in two weeks; facing ten years in prison to life; a far more consequential punishment for a 31-year-old perhaps than her 64-year-old drug lord husband.
In newly filed court documents the sentencing date is being delayed at least one month. The vague stated reason, "...in light of other obligations that have arisen in the interim and the nature of this case, the parties believe that additional time is necessary to adequately prepare for sentencing."
"What's clear is that they're not willing to tell us exactly what the reason is right now, the language is too vague," said ABC 7 legal analyst Gil Soffer.
The exotic answer, according to some observers, is Ms. Coronel is cutting a cooperation deal to shave off time from her sentence. But the reality, according to her attorney, is far less Hollywood-like. Coronel's New York City attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, tells the I-Team they are "working on financial issues." Lichtman says a delay in sentencing occurs in about 95% of all federal sentences. He suggests reports elsewhere of a deal to testify against the cartel are fabricated.
"We can be sure that for a very long stretch of time now the government has made clear, they'd be interested in any cooperation she can give," said Soffer.
He says there certainly would have been a hard press to obtain the cooperation of Mrs. El Chapo. But her attorney says such a deal is not the cause of the delay.
Although the attorney for El Chapo's wife didn't provide details of what financial issues may have snagged the sentencing procedure, she is subject to fines of up to ten million dollars. Her plea agreement puts jail time at roughly nine years to a little more than eleven years. Coronel would be in her early forties when released and in need of a bank account, which may explain the attention to financial concerns said to be under discussion now.
Early Thursday a spokesperson for the Dept. of Justice declined to comment about the Coronel sentencing delay or the nature of discussions that may be underway with her attorneys.