Tuesday, April 23, 2024

No verdict yet in Buju case

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TAMPA, Florida – The jury hearing the drug related charges against Jamaica’s international reggae artiste Buju Banton will resume their deliberations on Monday after failing to reach a verdict yesterday.
Banton, 37, whose real name is Mark Myrie, faces the possibility of life imprisonment or slapped with fines running into millions of dollars if he is convicted on the charges of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine and illegal possession of a firearm in the furtherance of a crime.
He has been in jail since December last year when he was arrested at his Florida home. His two former co-accused Ian Thomas and James Mack have agreed to a plea bargain with United States authorities and they will be sentenced at a later date.
Both signed plea deals and agreed to testify against Myrie in exchange for lesser sentences. However, none of the two took the stand as Mack pleaded the Fifth Amendment and neither the prosecution nor the defence found Thomas’ testimony to be of any assistance to their case.
Two weeks ago Mack signed an affidavit saying he never knew Myrie until after his arrest and that the artiste had no knowledge of a firearm and US$130 000 that was found in a Honda motorcar he was driving.
Myrie was reportedly offered a two-year prison term but refused. He has consistently maintained his innocence and claimed that he was entrapped by the United States government informant Alexander Johnson, who testified during the trial. (CMC)

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