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Penn says 'nothin' to hide' over Guzman meeting

Published:Tuesday | January 12, 2016 | 1:00 AM
In this Friday, January 8, 2016 photo, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is made to face the press as he's escorted to a helicopter in handcuffs by soldiers and marines at a federal hangar in Mexico City. Guzman's second prison escape in 2015 from a top-security prison through a tunnel had embarrassed President Enrique Pena Nieto and made his capture a national priority.

MEXICO CITY (AP):

Actor Sean Penn said yesterday he has "nothin' to hide" about his clandestine visit to Mexican drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, dismissing criticism over his interview with the fugitive who was captured two days ago.

In a brief email exchange with The Associated Press, Penn was asked about images published by local news media that indicate Mexican authorities were closely monitoring him and actress Kate del Castillo ahead of their October visit with Guzman.

"I've got nothin' to hide," he wrote.

Penn shrugged off a suggestion that he was "taking hits" for agreeing to submit the story to Guzman prior to publication of the story by Rolling Stone magazine.

"No, you're reading hits," he said.

There are quite a few envious journalists, the AP reporter commented. "True dat," Penn replied.

Guzman was captured Friday, more than three months after meeting Penn on October 2 meeting and six months after escaping from prison.

Penn did not respond directly to questions on whether it was appropriate for him to submit his story to Guzman for approval in advance of publication, though he said in the article that Guzman requested no changes.

Mexican officials have said that Guzman's contacts with Penn and del Castillo helped them track down the fugitive and they raided his hideout a few days after they met. Guzman evaded authorities then, but was finally captured Friday in the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa.

A Mexican federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to comment on the issue, told the Associated Press the Penn interview led authorities to Guzman in the area of Tamazula, a rural part of Durango state.