Unique ExperienceOver the past 30 years I’ve witnessed over 1,000 deaths. I’ve realized life’s precarious nature, and appreciate its preciousness. AMA!
Aug 31st 2017 by FrankOstaseski • 48 Questions • 924 Points
Hi Reddit! I am New York defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman, the lawyer for alleged Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Through my career, I have represented a number of other high-profile clients including John Gotti Jr. and rappers The Game and Fat Joe.
Thank you all for spending two hours with me and asking such intelligent questions. If you have any more interest about what I do for a living, I have a pretty informative website as linked above which will give you an idea about the types of cases I have and my results -- and thoughts as contained in my blog.
How would you show someone that life is precious and worth living? Specifically someone going through tough times and negativity in their life.
How do you feel about being called the Nickelback of EDM?
That was an interesting moment. I don't know the guy that wrote that article and it was a pretty aggressive article. We were in the studio when we read it and were like 'what do we do?' We just decided to poke fun at ourselves and did a mashup with Paris. Horrible mashup but we're self-deprecating and Nickelback rocks
Good question. The public does not see how much work goes into these defenses and the pressure that the public and press can bear on us. I do tire of the "how can you represent him" questions, though.
You've been a vocal critic of radical Islam, terrorism, domestic terrorism for many years. Would you represent, say someone like, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?
Great question. I think people who have been willing to live into the deeper dimensions of what it means to be human have an easier time with dying. For some that ease comes through religious or spiritual practices or training. I don't think those things are necessary for people to have a peaceful death. I worked with a man who was an atheist. He described what he thought would happen after he died. He said that his body was basically energy and that he would become molecules and mix with all the other molecules in the universe. He was quite comfortable with his dying. Idealized notions of a “good death” or a “dignified death” are troubling to me. They can blind us to what is actually happening, causing us to override the unpleasant and trample the sacred. Arbitrary standards about things “going according to plan” exert enormous pressure on dying people, adding guilt, shame, embarrassment, and a sense of failure to an already challenging process. Dignity is not an objective value. It is a subjective experience. Care with dignity promotes self-respect, honors individual differences, and supports people in the freedom to live their lives and their deaths according to their personal wishes. When we interfere, we may miss out on or even interrupt the subtle dimensions of the dying experience. No matter how noble our intentions, we need to resist the temptation to act on our own biases or impose our well-meaning advice or spiritual beliefs on people who are dying. Hannah was a Christian scientist with a deep and unwavering faith in God. At ninety-three, she had arrived at a place of acceptance of her death. She told me that her image of death was “to rest in the hands of Jesus.” Hannah’s well-meaning granddaughter, Skye, came to visit. Skye shared that she had been reading a number of books on near-death experiences. According to these books, at the time of death, people are often greeted by their deceased relatives. Skye said, “Grandma, you don’t have to worry, because when you die, everyone you know who died before you will be there to meet you.” When she heard this, Hannah became terrified of dying. The secret she had never shared with her family was that her husband, Edgar, had physically abused her for a good portion of their married life. He had died five years before. The idea of meeting Edgar again “on the other side” and spending eternity with him filled Hannah with desperation.
Our support of someone who is dying needs to include mindfulness, warmth, authenticity, stability, and generous listening. This allows us to enter the question of dying without so many answers. Being with dying calls for humility, acceptance, and a willingness to let go of control.
I want to protect the confidentiality of the people I served. No...there wasn't anything that people told me that required me to report to the police or appropriate authorities
hahaha that's really funny. Our parents have been relatively cool about all the F bombs.
I think a lot of it is my fault. I curse the most. My energy is best conveyed through the F word. My sister got her mouth cleaned with a bar of soap once. - ALEX
I had to pay a fee like 50 cents when I cursed growing up - DREW
What's bird law?
What I don't get is; what's with this morbid celebration of death?
You're not going anywhere, no heaven, no hell and no post life enlightenment. You die and everything is over, there's nothing after this.
And even if there is, why imbue that to the dying, prepare them for nothing and if there's something beyond it will be a welcome surprise.
What Blink 182 song did you beat to death in Tuscon? Also did Halsey's roommate ever realize that their mattress was stolen?
How did you end up representing El Chapo? I mean, seems like you like the guy as a person now, but how does a case like that come knocking at your door?
Not sure we are celebrating death. However, we can use the fact of death to help us understand life and perhaps live a bit more fully. Death reminds us that everything comes and goes: every thought, every lovemaking, every life. We see that dying is in the life of everything. Resisting this truth leads to pain. When we live a life illuminated by the fact of your death, it informs our choices.... right in the middle of life. Each moment is born and dies. And in a very real way, we are born and die with it. There is a beauty to all this impermanence. In Japan, people celebrate the brief but abundant blooming of the cherry blossoms each spring. In Idaho, outside the cabin where I teach, blue flax flowers live for a single day. Why do such flowers appear so much more magnificent than plastic ones? The fragility, the brevity, and the uncertainty of their lives captivates us, invites us into beauty, wonder, and gratitude.
sorry for bombardment of questions and i know you will answer this as a glass half full defense attorney but do you really think he stands a chance? isn't the evidence from the prosecution quite heavy?
hahaha this is amazing. Holy crap. Whoever posted this, thank you.
If I had a dollar for everytime I was asked that question -- and the client walked out of court a free man. He absolutely has a chance.
were you guys really 'hacked' that time you called Halsey a bald bitch on twitter?
so.... assuming he walks a free man would he still be a wanted man in mexico?
I was hacked. I don't even use Twitter that much. We were at a dinner at Sexy Fish in London with our agent and I got a notification or a text and noticed people were freaking out and then I saw a screenshot. I didn't know if I got hacked or if someone used a fake tweet generator but then I realized what had happened. My manager took my phone and deleted everything and got twitter to freeze my account. What sucked about it is that idk if they genuinely believed that I said all of that or if people just wanted to be nasty to someone but it fucked me up for a while. The comments didn't stop for months. Lady Gaga saw the tweet and she wasn't mad at us cuz she knew that we had been hacked but the things the hacker posted were still hurtful. It sucks that my account was involved in making someone feel that way. I get angry sometimes but I definitely don't go on the internet when I do - DREW
He has six cases to deal with here first.
Any chance of EDM songs being released instead of generic pop? I really miss that older sound you guys had in songs such as Split, and your old remixes.
oh. will you be representing him for each? or is that up to him ultimately to decide?
How we've developed over the past 5 years - we started being really enthusiastic about dance music and really wanted to be involved in it. At the time Avicii, Swedish House Mafia, etc all had their own unique sound. A lot of producers start off by making music that sounds like other people's sounds and that's how we started. We worked every day to try to find a sound that was inherently ours and not anybody's elses. That's where our remixes came from. The first time we really found our sound was with a remix we did of Anna the North's "Sway". That one did really well. After that we were really burnt out on making 128 music and we slowed it down and that's when we made "Roses" and I think that paved the way for Artist's to make slower music.
At the time Kygo, Diplo, Major Lazer, and we were the only ones really doing the slower songs I think. Flume's always been amazing. The music we now make is typically heard on the radio but at the time it wasn't.
Going forward we're going to take some chances and hopefully can steer away from sounding like generic pop to you guys.
One at a time. We aren't there yet.
What do you think of Rezz's music? Alison Wonderland's music?
How would that work? Someone would ask your client that, right?
I think they're both incredible producers. Both awesome chicks. Rezz just does her own thing and has fun and the stuff she makes is super creative and out there. Alison Wonderland and Rezz are two of the most exciting dance artists. They both have a sound that's specific to each of them.
I would do his direct examination. I would ensure that he not lie based on my own knowledge. Hasn't happened yet.
Does El Chapo pay you by delivering a dump truck full of cash at your house or do drug lords have checking accounts too?
MmmmmmMMMMMmmmm. Wait, what was the question? I got distracted.
Hi Drew and Alex,
If you can include the following links in your post as proof of who you are, that would be greatly appreciated!
In the meantime I'll leave this comment stickied for visitors so they can see you're legitimate.
Did you watch the tv series El Chapo? What do you think about it, and can you say more about how Chapo is?
I have never watched it. I watch zero TV other than sports.
He's engaging, he's curious, he's funny, he's strong as hell mentally and he laughs at my shitty Spanish.
Do you haze Lucas from time to time? -An old fraternity friend of his
About the El Chapo case: what kinds of things are you allowed to say to the media/public regarding the case and what do you need to keep secret? How do you decided/strategize what you can say and when?
Lol he's here with me right now. Yeah Lucas gets hazed from time to time lol but he's got a good life.
I don't discuss trial strategy with the media unless I want the strategy to be released, obviously. I can discuss the case in general but there are various security measures put into place by the government and ordered by the judge that would prevent me from stating all that much.
As for my ultimate strategy, a lot depends on the evidence in the case. Not sure what I need to do -- until I see all that the government has.
What does your studio setup look like from a software/synth/midi controller standpoint? Any must-have sample packs? What do you use to isolate vocals for remixes?
How did you decide to go into private criminal defense? If you had to pick a different legal practice, what would it be?
We work out of Abelton. We have pretty much every plug in known to man and midi controllers. We use a prophet 6 on tour because it sounds better than a lot of the soft synths. I've been plugging it into a guitar or vox amp and record with a vocal mic. We ask artists for their vocals and they send it thinking we might do a remix sometimes lol
It was the only thing that hit me between the eyes -- and heart. My main skill is beating up bullies on the stand -- perhaps I would sue people for sexual harassment claims or other workplace abuses and civil rights issues. But criminal law is really my true love.
What is your general strategy in drawing publicity prior to high profile trials? As an example, you're conducting this AMA where you call your client an alleged "drug lord", but I feel like that could be a negative descriptor, especially at this point in time. How do you balance self-promotion with the best interests of your client?
I don't. The best interests of my client is my self-promotion. Winning the case is my best self-promotion.
Your American Greed episode was fantastic. :) Where's Bill Mastro today, and has there been blow back by the baseball card insiders towards your exposing their fraud?
Mastro got out of prison recently; based on his new-found religious zeal, I am guessing he is washing the feet of lepers and figuring out ways to pay back all the people he robbed. (as if)
Many people resented me years ago and now for exposing Mastro's fraud simply because they themselves were profiting from the fraud. The baseball card hobby is filled with degenerates, especially the self-described leaders of the hobby. Numerous auction house owners have criminal records and this is the last refuge for them in order to make -- and steal -- a buck. Fraudsters, drug dealers, you name it, those are the leaders of the hobby.
What is your record as criminal defense attorney? (Ex. 1 for 1, 5 out of 7, etc.) Also are you able to speak with him directly or do you require the need of a translator?
I use a translator, though my Spanish is improving. Only took five years of it in school so it's coming slowly.
I win on average about half my trials.
What famous case do you wish you would have been hired to handle?
Hmmmm.....I know there have been a few because on occasion I get pissed off that I am not hired for a case which to me seems perfect for my style. Off the top of my head I'm not sure I can think of any. When Bernie Madoff got arrested I was glad I didn't get that one.
Listen to Jimmy's solo. Is there anything better?
What's your opinion on Trump's legal team and the future of his Supreme Court picks, also, the courts in general. What hope do we have if the President does not get control of these courts?
Hard to have an idea about Trump's legal team as it changes so frequently. President Trump needs to start filling judicial vacancies asap if he hopes to make true change in America.
El Chapo publicly put a bounty on President Trumps head and said some other threatening comments. Does his opinion of Trump still stand and do you think this will come out in the trial that he has threatened the POTUS?
Whatever he is alleged to have said about Trump is most likely not going to see the inside of a courtroom.
As for his thoughts on Trump, I would say he's amused by American politics. Amused with a capital A.
Remember, I only judge him by what I see personally, not what is in the media.
He's incredibly smart, great memory, very funny, very curious about the world. You'd like him (for real).
Funny, smart, curious, warm (really) with a great memory. Very quick mind. And has a family who really loves him.
For someone aiming to study law at university, is there anything you recommend doing on top of academic stuff to improve your chances at getting into better universities?
Grades, LSAT scores, and perhaps showing an interest in justice -- go work in a pro bono clinic to help indigent defendants.