Buju lawyer to appeal case

Artiste faces lengthy prison sentence

BY PAUL HENRY Crime/court co-ordinator henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

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ATTORNEY representing Reggae star Buju Banton, David Oscar Markus, has signalled his intention to appeal the guilty verdict that was handed down in the United States Sam Gibbons Federal Court today.

Banton was declared guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilogrammes of cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offence and using the wires to facilitate a drug-trafficking offence by a 12-member panel of jurors.

However he was found not guilty of attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine.

The artiste hugged Markus when the verdict was read while many of his supporters left the courtroom crying. He has been detained and has had his bail revoked.

Banton was arrested at his Tamarac home in South Florida in December 2009, a day after his co-defendants Ian Thomas and James Mack were arrested in a government controlled warehouse in Tampa, Florida attempting to buy cocaine from Drug Enforcement Agents.

He was jailed for almost 11 months in the Pinellas County Jail and his first trial in September last year ended in a hung jury forcing US Judge Tom Moody to order a retrial.

The artiste has consistently pleaded his innocence and claims he was entrapped by the US government.


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