Feb 3, 2011

Buju's Fingers Still Crossed


Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporter
Lawyers representing dancehall star Mark 'Buju Banton' Myrie have confirmed a Gleaner report that United States District judge James Moody has ruled against a motion seeking to dismiss new charges against him.
The ruling - Document 232 - was filed in the court on January 26, and rejects one of two motions filed by Buju's lawyers as they seek to get the additional charges dismissed.
But the defence attorneys yesterday told The Gleaner that they remain hopeful that Buju will be retried on only two charges despite the court's rejection of a motion for the new charges to be dismissed for vindictiveness.
Buju's lead attorney, David Marcus, yesterday noted that the United States District Court in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, is yet to rule on a second motion to dismiss the superseding indictment which contains the new charges.
That second motion argues that the new charges were multiplicitous and in violation of the double-jeopardy clause.
"One motion has nothing to do with the other. And the denial of the one motion hasn't affected our confidence at all," Marcus told The Gleaneryesterday.
"We are looking forward to a jury trial," said Marcus, who remains upbeat as he approaches the February 14 start of Buju's retrial.
In the January 26 ruling, Moody accepted the prosecution's claim that "as long as the prosecutor has probable cause to believe the accused has committed a crime, the courts have no authority to interfere with a prosecutor's decision to prosecute".
But Marcus is still pinning his hope on the ruling on the second motion.
Additional charges
If that motion is also dismissed, Buju will be tried on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine and attempting to possess five kilograms or more of cocaine.
He will also be tried on a charge of knowingly and intentionally possessing a firearm in furtherance of and during the course of a drug-trafficking crime.
The other charge which Buju could face is that he knowingly and intentionally aided and abetted others in using a communication facility in the commission of a felony.
Buju 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.
That trial ended in a hung jury.

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