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The faith of reggae star Buju Banton is now hangs at the mercy of the jury, who this morning retired for deliberation.
At approximately 9:30 this morning presiding Judge Jim Moody handed over the case the the 12 member panel of jury, to whom he entrusted to return with a satisfactory verdict.
Moody told the jury that in order to reach a guilty verdict they all had to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant (Mark Myrie) was a willing participant in a conspiracy, among other things. Regarding the firearm charge, Judge Moody said that the defendant had to knowingly possessed the firearm during the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime to be convicted.
According to reports, the gun for which Buju Banton is being charged for was in the possession of James Mack on December 10, 2009. Buju Banton was not in the company of the men when the arrest took place.
Buju Banton lawyer, David Markus, said the Grammy winning recording artist is optimistic that the jury will return with a not guilty verdict. “We are trying to stay optimistic,” Markus disclosed.
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