MEXICO CITY — Kate del Castillo said she is suing former Mexican officials for $60 million in "moral and material damages" because of what she calls "political persecution" against her. The actress, best known in the U.S. for her association with drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, has spoken out before, claiming that the "macho" Mexican government was persecuting her only because she's a woman.
Mexican authorities investigated del Castillo following the secret meeting she arranged with Sean Penn and Guzman in 2015. She was never charged, but claims that prosecutors leaked information that damaged her reputation. Del Castillo is reportedly Guzman's favorite actress.
Last year in January,, "It's not been a good year. I couldn't work because people didn't want me, because they were afraid."
Del Castillo arranged the meeting because she was considering doing a documentary or film about Guzman's life, but said she currently has no plans to pursue such a project.
She also said at a news conference in Mexico on Thursday that she is no longer in touch with Penn and believes he betrayed her.
"Sean Penn apparently helped in the location and detention" of Guzman, now on trial in New York, she said. "I was not aware of that situation, and that is why I have always referred to it as betrayal."
"He behaved very badly because he didn't protect me and put my life at risk," said del Castillo, who implied she would like to kick the American actor in the groin.
Del Castillo accuses prosecutors in the administration of former President Enrique Pena Nieto of leaking information that suggested she might be linked to drug trafficking or sentimentally connected to Guzman, something she said cost her acting work.
She remained away from her home country of Mexico for years because of concerns about investigations, but returned to spend Christmas with her family.
She said: "I hope that things go incredibly well for the administration headed by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador," who took office on Dec. 1.
Last year, del Castillo told the AP, "I've done nothing wrong. Probably it was a little too risky. You can like it or not, but it's nothing illegal. Why am I the only one who is being persecuted? Because I'm a woman. If I was a man, this would never have happened. I get it, especially in Mexico - we're very macho."