Buju Banton: “I made US$400,000 from tours”
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Both defence and prosecution today gave their closing statements in the highly publicised Buju Banton drug trial.
Banton lawyer, David Markus, plead with the jury to return a not guilty verdict as the case against his client is weak and absurd.
On the other hand, prosecutor James Preston paint a picture of a broke and desperate Buju Banton looking to make money from drug dealings with government informant Alexander Johnson.
Preston quoted excerpts from the recorded conversation between Banton and Johnson, where Banton told Johnson he was broke and in need of some cash. Preston also quote Banton as telling Johnson that his friend Ian Thomas had helped him out financially. Preston also raise the fact that Buju Banton tours were being cancelled, resulting in lost revenue for the artist.
Buju Banton shot back and said he was not broke, since although his shows were being cancelled, he was still being paid by the promoters who have to honor his contract. He said he made some US$400,000 from his tours.
For the most part, the faith of Buju Banton is at the mercy of the jury, who is expecting to start their deliberation come to tomorrow.
Buju Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, previous trial ended last September in a mistrial, after jury in the case could not reach a unanimous verdict. His second trial began on Monday (February 14) in the Sam M Gibbons Federal court in Tampa, Florida.
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 and fined up to US$4 million.