Woman, friend slashed on bus in New York City after trying to pet another woman’s dog

Two women who tried to pet a dog on a New York City bus ended up getting slashed by the pooch's angry owner on Monday, police said. The incident happened shortly after 2 p.m. aboard the BX2 bus in the Melrose section of the Bronx, after a verbal dispute between the group turned into a … Continue reading “Woman, friend slashed on bus in New York City after trying to pet another woman’s dog”

Two women who tried to pet a dog on a New York City bus ended up getting slashed by the pooch's angry owner on Monday, police said.

The incident happened shortly after 2 p.m. aboard the BX2 bus in the Melrose section of the Bronx, after a verbal dispute between the group turned into a physical fight.

One of the victims, a 22-year-old woman, suffered cuts to her face and head, while the second woman, 20, received a cut to her left arm.

"I got sliced on my face because I went to go touch a dog," the 22-year-old woman, who did not give her name, told PIX11. "I never knew the dog was a service animal."

Both victims exited the bus and ran to a hospital, where they sought medical care.

The woman allegedly slashed two other bus riders when they petted her small dog on Monday in the Bronx. (NYPD)

Police said the suspect in the attack, who carried a black shoulder purse and a small white dog, also got off the bus and fled the scene in a green SUV taxi.

MASSACHUSETTS POLICE HUNT WHALE JAW BONE THIEF

The suspect, who is described as a woman between 30 to 35 years old, was last seen wearing a dark-colored baseball cap, a black waist-length coat, black pants and black and white sneakers.

Anyone with information about the attack is urged to contact the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS(8477).

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed

Putin: Russia has enough missiles without violating treaty

MOSCOW – President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday rejected the U.S. claim that Russia developed a new cruise missile in violation of a key nuclear treaty, arguing that Russia has no need for such a land-based weapon because it already has similar missiles on its ships and aircraft.

Washington warned this month it would suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days if Russia did not return to full compliance. The U.S. claims the 9M729 cruise missile breaches the INF, which bans all land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (300 to 3,400 miles.)

Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusation. Speaking to Russia's top military brass Tuesday, Putin rejected the U.S. claim of developing a land-based cruise missile, saying Russia now has similar air- and sea-launched weapons to do the job.

Putin said the Russian military has successfully tested air-launched Kh-101 and sea-launched Kalibr cruise missiles with a range of 4,500 kilometers (2,790 miles) in combat in Syria.

"It has probably made our partners worry, but it doesn't violate the INF treaty," Putin said.

Putin said the treaty signed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev didn't limit sea- and air-launched cruise missiles, which the Soviet Union didn't have at the time and the United States did in significant numbers.

The Russian president argued that the pact represented "unilateral disarmament" for the Soviet Union, adding: "God only knows why the Soviet leadership did it."

He emphasized that with Russian strategic bombers and navy ships now armed with long-range cruise missiles, it makes the development of similar land-based weapons redundant.

"It makes no difference whatsoever if we have a Kalibr-armed submarine or aircraft carrying missiles or similar weapons ashore," he said. "We can strike any targets within the range of 4,500 kilometers from the territory of Russia."

Putin added, however, that Russia could easily build such land-based missiles if the U.S. opts out of the INF Treaty, which he described as a key stabilizing factor.

"If we have similar air- and sea-launched systems, it wouldn't be that difficult for us to do some research and development to put them on land if needed," he said.

Putin added that Russia also has other new weapons that aren't banned by the INF, such as the air-launched Kinzhal hypersonic missile and the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, saying that they have significantly bolstered Russia's military capability.

"No one has hypersonic weapons yet, but we have it," he said.

Kinzhal has already been commissioned by the military, which put them in service with a squadron of MiG-31 fighter jets.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday that the aircraft carrying missiles have flown 89 patrol missions over the Caspian and the Black Seas this year.

Shoigu said the Avangard will enter service with the military next year.

Putin suggested that other countries that built intermediate-range missiles should be engaged in talks on a possible new agreement.

"Why not start talks on their accession to the treaty, or discuss parameters of a new agreement?" he said.

Chicago officers likely didn’t see train that killed them

CHICAGO – Two Chicago police officers may not have seen or heard the commuter train that fatally struck them because they were focused on another train coming from the opposite direction, a department spokesman said Tuesday.

Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said "very limited" video from a body camera one of the officers was wearing helped investigators piece together how the tragedy might have happened.

The officers had run onto an elevated area of the tracks Monday night on the city's far South Side to investigate gunfire. On the video, they "clearly acknowledge" a northbound train just before the southbound train hit them, Guglielmi said.

"They must have thought the sound they heard was the northbound train," he said. "They must have missed the sound of the train right behind them."

Officers Eduardo Marmolejo and Conrad Gary were doing surveillance after Shotspotter technology that detects the sound of gunfire alerted police about shots fired in the area.

Between the sound of the first train and the fact that they were focused on finding a gunman, they were unable to move off the tracks.

The man Mamolejo and Gary were pursuing was taken into custody by other officers a short time later, and a gun was recovered near where the officers were struck. Guglielmi said the man was being questioned and had not yet been charged with any crime.

"These brave young men were consumed with identifying a potential threat," Superintendent Eddie Johnson explained to reporters at a news conference late Monday night.

Later, Guglielmi said, Johnson led a delegation of the department's command staff to search the area along the tracks to ecover the remains of the two officers. Guglielmi said Johnson has met with the families of the two officers.

The officers were assigned to the Calumet police district. Marmolejo, 36, had been a member of the department for 2 ½ years; Gary, 31, had been on the force for 18 months. Both were married with children. Marmolejo was the father of three children, one in high school and two younger children; Gary had a 6-month-old daughter.

Four Chicago police officers now have been killed in the line of duty this year.

The tragedy bore similarities to the 2002 death of Chicago Police Officer Benjamin Perez, who was fatally struck by a commuter train while conducting surveillance on narcotics activity on the city's West Side.

Officer Samuel Jimenez was killed in a shootout last month after he chased a gunman inside a hospital on Chicago's South Side. That shooter also killed two other people before taking his own life.

And in February, Cmdr. Paul Bauer was fatally shot while pursuing a suspect in the Loop business district.

The total is the highest number of Chicago officers killed in the line of duty in one year since five were killed in 2010. Their deaths mark the first time two officers died in the same incident since 1990, according to Dave Bayless, spokesman for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel mourned the officers on Monday night, telling reporters, "I think it's really important that we put our arms around the Chicago Police Department and hold them up and support them at this critical juncture, because we are so dependent on their professionalism and their sense of duty."

Florida dad shoots, kills son to save younger son during violent fight over billiards game, police say

A Florida father, faced with a devastating choice, shot and killed his older son in order to save his younger child after the brothers got into a violent fight over a game of pool Sunday, police said.

Police received a 911 call at 5:47 a.m. from a woman, identified as Marie Maloney, who said her son, Joseph Maloney, 30, was acting irrational and needed to be “Baker Acted” at their Stuart home in The Florida Club, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said in a news conference. The mother was referring to the Florida Mental Health Act that allows officials to involuntarily examine a person showing signs of possible mental illness.

“It was an extremely violent scene,” Snyder said.

Before deputies arrived at the home, however, Marie called 911 again. This time, she said her husband, John Maloney, shot Joseph after the 30-year-old got into a violent altercation with his 26-year-old brother, James Maloney.

The couple later told police their sons had been drinking when an argument over a billiards game escalated.

Joseph placed James in a chokehold while holding a “rather large butterfly knife” over his head, police said. The father verbally intervened in an effort to get his older son to release his grip, but to no avail.

The couple said they heard their younger son pleading to his sibling to let go and saying he couldn’t breathe, and once James began to lose consciousness, John fired his revolver, striking Joseph several times.

Joseph Maloney was arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter following a 2015 crash. (Martin County Sheriff’s Office)

Snyder said Joseph had been acting irrationally in the hours before the deadly shooting. At one point, Joseph attacked a door with a machete while his parents locked themselves in the bedroom. James then intervened and attempted to keep his brother calm and away from their parents, according to police.

John Maloney will not face charges following the shooting because evidence and family witness statements showed "Mr. Maloney believed that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent the death or great bodily injury to his younger son,” Snyder said, adding the father is “absolutely shattered” after shooting his son.

The Maloneys told investigators Joseph had been under a great deal of stress due to upcoming court action related to a 2015 DUI manslaughter case. Joseph was driving the opposite direction when he crashed his vehicle head-on with another car, killing high school football coach Cristopher D. Harrison in May 2015, TCPalm reported.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

US home construction rose last month, led by apartments

WASHINGTON – U.S. developers broke ground on more homes last month, but the increase occurred entirely in apartments. The construction of new single-family houses fell.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that housing starts rose 3.2 percent in November from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate 1.26 million. Despite the increase, that is down 3.6 percent from a year ago. Single-family starts dropped 4.6 percent in November and are down 13.1 percent from a year earlier.

Some of the data likely have been distorted by extreme weather. Home-building jumped 15.1 percent last month in the South in the aftermath of Hurricanes Florence and Michael. And home construction fell 14.2 percent in the West, possibly because of wildfires in California. Single-family homebuilding fell in the West by the most since February 2009.

Still, rising mortgage rates have dragged down home sales in the past year, discouraging many builders and causing a slump in the overall housing market. Sales of new and existing homes are dropping and home price gains are slowing.

The unemployment rate is at a five-decade low and incomes are rising more quickly, but many would-be buyers struggle to find homes they can afford. Developers say that rising labor and materials costs make it harder for them to build more affordable properties.

"Rising home prices and mortgage rates have created high hurdles for homebuyers, while cost increases have made it difficult for builders to deliver homes at the most in-demand price points," said Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com.

Sales of new homes plummeted nearly 9 percent in October and the number of newly built, unsold homes sitting on the market has climbed to its highest level since 2009.

And an index of home builders' confidence has fallen sharply over the last two months. On Monday, the National Association of Home Builders said the index dropped last month to its lowest level in 3 ½ years.

Mortgage rates shot up to nearly 5 percent in early November, the highest level in seven years. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has fallen back since then and hit 4.6 percent last week. Still, that is up from an average of 3.9 percent a year earlier.

The construction of apartment buildings has soared in the past year, rising 20 percent nationwide. That could help keep rents in check.

But single-family home building creates more jobs and economic activity and is closely watched by economists. Their construction requires more labor and yields more purchases of furniture and appliances. Single- family home building plunged 13.1 percent in November from a year earlier.

Building permits for single-family homes ticked up 0.1 percent last month, suggesting that construction of those homes will level off in the coming months. Overall permits rose 5 percent last month and 0.4 percent from a year ago.

El Chapo’s ‘rage-filled’ attorney: There isn’t a case I can’t win

Almost four decades after seeing "The Verdict," a critically acclaimed Paul Newman legal drama that motivated a young Jeffrey Lichtman to a career in law, the noted defense attorney is drawing critical response of his own as the man flanking the world's most notorious accused drug kingpin: Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

“Criminal law was the only area of law that had any interest for me. It was the only area that I felt had any real drama, any real life or death moments. I enjoy the pressure,” Lichtman told Fox News, in an interview Saturday. “I wanted that responsibility, I didn’t want to fight about money, I didn’t want to fight about a property. I wanted to fight about liberty.”

Lichtman faces a massive U.S. government prosecution case against Guzman, but said despite what some have characterized as the myths and mayhem surrounding the accused druglord, he can win an acquittal.

“What drives me, what makes me rage-filled is the thought that anybody is not taking me seriously enough in my ability to win a case,” Lichtman said. “Nothing gets me crazier than the thought that someone thinks I can’t win or doesn’t appreciate my abilities.

"I am at the stage now where there is not a case I think I can’t win. That is what makes me nuts. When the prosecutors are sleeping, or taking a day off, I am working. I am not working just to work. I am working to win.”

Some U.S. law enforcement officials say Guzman, 61, had long been a fan of the mob world, and in particular the Gotti family, who Lichtman previously defended. But Lichtman insisted Guzman knew nothing of the attorney's past clientele, and said the two were connected through a referral.

Court filings revealed Guzman had met with at least 16 private lawyers ahead of the trial, eventually settling on three – Lichtman, Eduardo Balarezo, and William Purpura. Lichtman said that the sheer volume of material to wade through makes having a three-man trial team a necessity.

But sharing the stage has its challenges too – such as not getting as much personal time for the jury to get to know you.

“When you are trying a case, a difficult case, part of the significance of doing the cross-examinations is you want to the do the cross-examinations the way you want them to be done. But you also want as much face time you can in front of the jury,” he explained. “The more time you spend with the jury, opening, and closing, the more time you spend with them the greater the relationship becomes. When you are not standing up for every witness you develop a lesser of a relationship.”

Aside from his role in the current trial, Lichtman is best known for winning an acquittal for former mob boss John Gotti, Jr. in 2005. He took on the case representing the son of the infamous Gambino crime boss, which concluded with the tossing of three murder conspiracy charges, a $25 million securities fraud charge, and a deadlocked jury on every additional remaining count.

Gotti walked away from the case a free man.

That wasn't Lichtman's only big win. In May this year, the New Jersey native defended a Queens obstetrician/gynecologist and prominent abortion doctor, Dr. Robert Rho, in his trial for reckless manslaughter following the July 2016 death of a patient following an extremely late-term abortion, around the six-month mark.

John Gotti Jr. is featured in a new A&E documentary about John Gotti. (A&E)

Prosecutors presented evidence indicating Rho had administered the heavy sedative Propofol himself, rather than using a licensed anesthesiologist, rushed through the procedure in one day instead of the standard two to three, ripped the patient's cervix, perforated her uterine wall and severed her uterine artery, all before discharging her from his now-shuttered clinic despite being ill and disoriented – prompting her to bleed to death later that night.

Even before the botched procedure, Rho had been investigated by state officials over concerns he was performing abortions ineptly, and hiring assistants without adequate training.

But Lichtman argued that the 30-year-old patient, Jamie Morales, had purposely lied about her serious medical history. She also failed to inform the doctor she suffered from Lupus, an auto-immune condition that in turn could have caused excessive bleeding, and allowed tissue more susceptible to tearing.

April 27: Dr. Robert Rho walks toward the courtroom for his trial at Queens County Criminal Court in New York. (AP)

The jury came back the third day, deadlocked. Rho then suddenly took a took a guilty plea to an uncharged, lesser-included offense of criminally negligent homicide. Instead of facing 15 years behind bars, Rho received a sentence of around 15 months, with the eligibility for work release months earlier. For his lawyer, it was a clear victory.

EL CHAPO'S BIG-MONEY LAWYERS HAVE DEFENDED A GOTTI, GANG MEMBERS, OTHER CARTEL BOSSES

IN VENEZUELAN CRISIS, FAMILIES CAN'T EVEN AFFORD TO PROPERLY BURY THE DEAD

“Every case is different. You are fundamentally trying to break down the government’s case and in some cases, where there are cooperating witnesses you want to attack their credibility,” Lichtman explained of his strategy. “In cases like this with the abortion doctor, we wanted to attack their science and what they claimed was the reason why this patient and her fetus died. You try to look for the most vulnerable part of their case and exploit it.”

Part of his drive to dig deep, he noted, stems from insatiable anger.

“To do this effectively you need to have some chip on your shoulder, to a large degree. When I was younger I thought I would outgrow the anger, but I never did,” Lichtman quipped. “If you are a happy defense lawyer you are a shi*ty defense lawyer. This is something you need to vent your spleen, and the way I vent is in the courtroom. The happiest I am is in a trial cross-examining a witness.”

That makes Guzman the perfect therapy for the 53-year-old attorney.

“This is the kind of profession you can do very safely if you want. You can take fewer cases or take less high-profile ones, and have an easier life,” he continued. “But I just feel if you are doing this, you have got people whose lives are in your hands so how can you half-ass it? I always feel that I won’t be able to look at my clients in the face if they are asking me to help save their lives if I am not willing to take on anyone and everyone no matter how bad or tough the case is.”

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, center, sits next to his defense attorney Eduardo Balarezo, left, for opening statements as Guzman’s high-security trial gets underway in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. (Elizabeth Williams via AP) (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

And with Chapo's infamy comes layers of complexity.

Federal prosecutors, vowing that Guzman – who was extradited to the U.S early last year after several escapes from imprisonment in Mexico – and his Sinaloa cartel cohorts still a pose a significant danger to anyone who testifies or works against him, have taken extraordinary lengths to protect cooperating witnesses and keep the names of all jurors anonymous.

Lichtman dismissed such proclamations, and denied it has had any bearing on the case thus far. “Jurors are jurors, I don’t need to know their names,” he said.

FILE – In this Jan. 8, 2016, file image released by Mexico’s federal government, Mexico’s most wanted drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, stands for his prison mug shot with the inmate number 3870 at the Altiplano maximum security federal prison in Almoloya, Mexico. Emma Coronel, the common-law wife of Guzman said Monday, Feb. 29. 2016, that his health problems have gotten “a lot worse” because guards at a maximum security prison rouse him for head counts, interfering with his sleep. (Mexico’s federal government via AP)

The trial is expected to go on for more than four months. The accused drug lord is charged with a litany of offensives around drug trafficking and the U.S government seeks the forfeiture of $14 billion in alleged drug profits.

“I am willing to fight anybody. I am willing to take chances on cases, I am willing to represent unpopular people. I am willing to attack the government, I am not afraid,” Lichtman boasted.

And despite a long legacy of siding with colorful characters steeped in controversy, Lichtman said he doesn’t care about the public perception that comes with advocating for the likes of Guzman – who many experts and analysts vow has caused the direct and indirect deaths of thousands of people.

“I don’t care what anybody thinks about about this case other than the 12 jurors. I don’t worry about what friends think. I don’t worry about what family thinks, I don’t care what people in the community think,” Lichtman added. “This is what I do and if you don’t like it, you can drop dead.”

Hollie McKay has a been a Fox News Digital staff reporter since 2007. She has extensively reported from war zones including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, and Latin America investigates global conflicts, war crimes and terrorism around the world. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @holliesmckay

Louisiana author’s Christmas dragons go viral after neighbors’ flare up

A Louisiana woman’s unusual Christmas decorations have gone viral after igniting a flare up with a neighbor who's reportedly afraid the woman might be involved in a “demonic cult.”

Diana Rowland, a former police officer turned fantasy writer, has set up inflatable dragons in her yard to celebrate Halloween — and Christmas — for at least four years.

She told Fox News during a phone interview on Tuesday that her husband got her the first dragon for her birthday several years ago and they put it up on Halloween.

“As a fantasy writer, they are right up my alley,” she said, adding the dragon was taken down after the holiday.

Rowland had initially put up three dragons but, not one to back down, added two more after her neighbor’s letter. (Courtesy of Diana Rowland)

That year, they decided to put it back up after Thanksgiving and included some more Christmas-related decorations around the dragons.

“People loved it…my immediate neighbors love them,” Rowland said. “They come up and take their picture…We are the 'Dragon House.'"

Some love it so much that one of Rowland's elderly neighbors even told her she should put a spotlight on the dragons so that people can see them better.

But this year, she's also dealt with other points of view. One of her neighbors apparently had enough with the "inappropriate" display and sent Rowland an anonymous letter asking her to consider taking it down.

In an anonymous letter, a neighbor told her that her dragon display was "inappropriate" for Christmas.

“Your dragon display is only marginally acceptable at Halloween. It is totally inappropriate at Christmas,” the letter said. “It makes your neighbors wonder if you are involved in a demonic cult. Please consider removing the dragons. May God bless you and help you to know the true meaning of Christmas.”

Rowland shared a photo of her dragons and the anonymous letter on Twitter late last week and it has since gone viral with more than 9,400 retweets and more than 36,000 likes.

“I had to read it twice and thought ‘really?’” she said. “I then ran to my daughter, who is 14, and told her, ‘Look, we have hate mail!”

She added: “The first line of the letter really set the tone for all of this.”

Not one to back down, Rowland added two more dragons to this year’s display — with some of them sporting halos.

“I don’t want to call it a war, but I can say that I won this round,” she said.

Rowland said she is “a little famous” from her books, but the last few days have been a different level of fame.

“It’s been interesting,” she said. “My family has been supportive. My daughter thinks it’s hilarious.”

Since the posts went viral, Rowland has been inundated with offers of donations to help her buy more dragons. Instead, she asks that people donate to charity.

“I can buy my own dragons,” she said.

At least one person has taken her up on her request, donating to a penguin rescue in honor of Rowland’s dragon army.

“It’s about spreading the joy – finding joy with the dragons,” Rowland said.

Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang

Oklahoma Good Samaritan gives $10,000 to pay off students’ school lunches

One man is on a mission to pay it forward in the community that raised him.

Tommy Kelley, 38, an Oklahoma City native, surprised Putnam City Public Schools with a massive donation of $10,000 to help pay off student lunch debt.

“It’s just a way during this season to take burdens off the parents who can’t afford lunches, you know, it’s no fault of their own,” Kelley told Fox News. “Not every school is subsidized here. We try just to alleviate as much as we can so they can pay an electric bill or buy an extra gift.”

Tommy Kelley, 38, donated $1,000 to Parkview Elementary in Oklahoma City, OK to help with meals for the kids and their parents. (Tommy Kelley)

Kelley wanted to give back to the school system he is a product of – alleviating one-third of the school’s student lunch debt – but he didn’t stop there.

The next day he donated $1,000 to a low-income elementary school in the city, and the day after that he donated $4,000 to Putnam City’s Care Share/Penny’s Closet Programs that provide Christmas gifts, coats, shoes, and more to kids in need.

Tommy Kelley donated $4,000 to Putnam City’s Care Share/Penny’s Closet Program which provides Christmas gifts, coats, shoes and more to kids in need. (Tommy Kelley)

Kelley made the donations through his foundation, the Some Day Soon Foundation, which he started a year ago after getting a second chance at life.

“Twenty-eight months ago I was given a second chance at life when I decided to become sober. I decided the only way to pay back the chance I was given was to start doing the right thing, and the right thing is helping those in need, and if my story of sobriety can help someone else or inspire someone then it’s worth it,” he said.

The Some Day Soon Foundation helped the homeless in Oklahoma City, OK on Sunday with food, water, clothes, and more. (Tommy Kelley)

Just one year ago, he was serving pizza and hamburgers out of the trunk of his car to homeless people as his way of paying it forward. Today, they serve up to 1,000 homeless people every month.

FLORIDA BOY'S MISSION TO HELP THE HOMELESS: 'GOD SENT A NOTE TO MY HEART'

He chose the name "Some Day Soon Foundation" to inspire others.

“Today might not be okay, but someday soon it will be,” Kelley said. “There is hope for you yet.”

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

Massachusetts police hunt whale jaw bone thief

A whale jaw bone was stolen from the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Massachusetts and police on Monday were asking the public for help recovering it.

The whale jaw bone, stolen from the group’s headquarters in Yarmouth, measures between 6 and 7 feet long and is valued at around $5,000, police said.

The bone was stolen from an outdoor storage area.

Police released a photo of a whale jaw bone Monday, but it wasn’t a picture of the actual jaw bone that was stolen, only one resembling it.

Anyone with information on the stolen item was urged to call Division Detective Eric Nuss at 508-775-0445, extension 2132.

Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @RyanGaydos.

El Chapo trial becomes New York’s latest tourist attraction

NEW YORK – There was a time, after a spectacular prison escape, when Joaquin Guzman was the most wanted man in the world.

The thrill of being able to see the man known as El Chapo up close — and live to tell the tale — has been drawing curious New Yorkers, fans of TV crime shows and even tourists to the Brooklyn courtroom where the infamous Mexican drug trafficker is being tried on charges that could put him in a U.S. prison for life.

Some days, they are just two people among all the prosecutors, reporters, security officials and team of lawyers who fill up the courtroom. Other days you may see five. They sit up straight in the spectator area and look up so they can see Guzman's face. They also look with curiosity at his wife, Emma Coronel, who sits in the courtroom's public gallery nearly every day.

"It was surreal. It was like I was seeing the (Netflix) TV show 'El Chapo,'" said spectator Peter Stolt, 23, who attended three days of the trial in November and hopes to show up for at least one more.

Stolt, who recently graduated from Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania and is interviewing for jobs in New York, said he has stood in line outside the building at around 6:30 am to make sure he gets a seat. What impressed him most, he said, was when Miguel Angel Martinez, a former assistant to Guzman who is now a prosecution witness, testified in dramatic detail how he survived several attempts on his life that he claimed were ordered by Guzman, one after an ominous serenade by a Mexican brass band.

"The grenade, the song. … It's crazy. That was scary. It's crazy that we are hearing this firsthand," he said.

The diminutive Guzman, whose nickname means "Shorty" in Spanish, was extradited to the United States last year to face charges accusing him of running the Sinaloa cartel, which smuggled tons of cocaine into the U.S.

The six weeks of testimony from law enforcement officials, an imprisoned cocaine kingpin from Colombia and flashy Mexican drug smugglers have contained enough material to fill several seasons of "Miami Vice" or "Narcos." There has been testimony about secret smuggling tunnels built beneath the border, assassination attempts, bribery of high level police officials, private jets filled with millions of dollars in cash, and factories churning out cocaine-filled cans disguised as hot pepper containers.

Guzman's lawyers say the lowlife cooperators are lying in an attempt to frame him and get an easier sentence in their own drug-trafficking cases.

Joaquin Martinez, a 55-year-old Mexican who has lived in New York for more than a decade, said seeing El Chapo in person was worth the trip from Manhattan to Brooklyn. However, he expected him with a moustache, like in many of the photos people have seen of him over the years.

"It took me a couple of seconds to realize it was him. To be honest, he looked like … a regular person," he said.

He was more impressed by Coronel, Guzman's wife, who he thought walked around the courtroom confidently, as if she were in her own home. She sat in a bench in front of him.

"I could smell her perfume," said Martinez, who owns and manages several restaurants in New York. Hearing phone recordings of drug dealings in the courtroom impressed him, he said, but also when prosecutors showed as evidence a photograph of Amado Carrillo, a Mexican drug lord who is famous in his home country and who died in 1997 in a plastic surgery operation to change his face.

Spectators go through security in the lobby of the building and need to remove their shoes to go through a second metal detector and X-ray bag scanner on the eighth floor. Then they sign up on a sheet.

Wayne Burg, a 49-year-old Australian criminal lawyer, went to see the trial with his 21-year-old daughter, Lydia, during their December vacation in New York. Going to federal court to see El Chapo was a must-do before a Knicks game.

"The amount of drugs, the amount of money … these are extraordinary levels," said Burg, who ended up with his daughter in the overflow room, watching on a video feed, because there was no space in the courtroom.

"We had a great holiday, but the case was one of the highlights!" he said.

Not all days are exciting.

Some members of the jury have dozed off when technical aspects of law enforcement drug searches have been explained. Guzman, however, always seems to pay attention, looking at witnesses when they speak and whispering to his lawyers' ears.

For those interested in going, there is still time. The trial may last for two more months.