Jamaican dancehall icon Buju Banton has been denied an appeal request for a new trial by a Florida judge yesterday, and according to reports he may now be facing even more jail time…
Born as Mark Myrie, the Jamaican dancehall singer was condemned by a jury in Tampa on charges of conspiring with at least 2 other men for the possession and possible distribution of at least 11lbs of cocaine. Banton’s lawyer, David Markus, made this comment upon receiving the verdict:
“Obviously, we are all upset and disappointed and emotional,” said Markus. “The only person who seems to be okay is Buju. He told us he was happy that he fought, knowing he was innocent.”
The case against Buju began in December 2009 when he was arrested during a sting operation, after police asserted he was attempting to buy cocaine from undercover officials. Banton appeared in court soon afterwards, but the case was deemed a mistrial when the jury was unable to reach a proper verdict. The singer states,
“Our life and destiny are sometimes pre-destined and no matter where this journey takes me, remember I fought the good fight… It was a great man that said ‘my head is bloody but still unbowed.’ I love you all, thank you for your support.”
U.S. District Judge James S. Moody reportedly received numerous plea letters from children, as well as actor Danny Glover asking for clemency. Glover offered kind words of Banton, stating he is a “role model, philanthropist and spiritual leader in the community”, which many of his fans can surely attest to. The District Judge dismissed a gun charge, which would have tacked on at least 5 more years to Banton’s sentence. Defense lawyer David Markus goes on to say,
“This is a sad day for Mr. Myrie. This is a sad day for Jamaica…He’s a good man who has done great things in his life.”
Buju Banton is a celebrated musician both here in the states, and in his hometown of Kingston, Jamaica. His contributions both politically and musically are recognized as incredible achievements by millions of people around the world. The reggae singer won a Grammy this past February for his album Before The Dawn in the category of ‘Best Reggae Album’ at the 53rd annual award show in Los Angeles.