Judge yet to rule on new charges against Buju

Paul Henry, who has been reporting on the Buju Banton trial for the Jamaican Observer since the accusations were made public, had this report on the new indictment against the Jamaican singer.

UNITED States judge James Moody is yet to rule on Buju Banton’s motion challenging a new indictment bringing five charges against him. However, Moody has ruled against a motion of vindictiveness filed by Banton’s legal team, headed by David Oscar Markus.

“No, our motion regarding the extra charges hasn’t been ruled on,” Markus told the Observer yesterday. “The judge denied the motion regarding vindictiveness, which was a different motion.”

The prosecution had secured the new indictment with an additional three counts last November after Banton’s first trial ended with a hung jury in September.

Banton, whose real name is Mark Anthony Myrie, is to be retried on February 14 in the Sam M Gibbons Federal Court in Tampa, Florida.

The four-time Grammy nominated artiste 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.

Should the new indictment stand, Banton will be 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 was arrested in December 2009, as part of a sting operation, following the arrests of two men Ian Thomas and James Mack in Florida and slapped with the drug and weapon charges. The men, who pleaded guilty to the charges last year are expected to testify during Banton’s second trial. They did not participate in the previous trial.

The second trial was to have started last December but was postponed so Banton, who is on US$250,000 bail and is subjected to house arrest, could spend time with his family.

For the original report go to http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Judge-yet-to-rule-on-new-charges-against-Buju_8330294#ixzz1Cxssga1Y

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