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Buju’s lawyer begs jurors for not guilty verdict

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

Thursday, February 17, 2011 | 4:42 PM    

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TAMPA, USA — Defence attorney David Markus in his closing argument this afternoon asked the 12-member jury to find his client Buju Banton not guilty on all four counts of drug related charges.

In a dramatic closing argument, Markus quoted from the book To Kill a Mockingbird, telling the jurors, “please ladies and gentlemen, please find Mark Myrie not guilty”.

Markus called the gun and wire charge against his client absurd, noting that it showed how desperate the prosecution was in wanting to convict the Grammy-winning artiste

An hour earlier, prosecutor James Preston told the jurors that Banton was guilty as charged and that they are to return a like verdict.

Banton is being tried for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine; attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offence; and using the wires to facilitate a drug trafficking offence.

If convicted, Banton faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

Banton had originally been tried on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking offence. His trial resulted in a hung jury last September.

A new indictment was secured last November by Preston in an effort to secure a conviction against the Jamaican artiste, whose legal team is claiming that he had been entrapped by the US Government.

The artiste was arrested in December 2009 as part of a sting operation.

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