Jun 25, 2012
Buju 'crushed' by appeal decision, may seek new trial
A somber mood persists within the camp of incarcerated Dancehall/Reggae megastar, Buju Banton a day after an appeal on behalf of the Grammy-winning entertainer was dismissed.
On Thursday, the United States Court of Appeal for the 11th Circuit upheld Buju Banton's conviction on drug charges in February of last year and subsequent 10 year sentence regarding said charges last June. In its ruling, the Atlanta-based Circuit Court agreed with the jury's decision to convict Buju Banton of three charges, including conspiracy to distribute cocaine and aiding and abetting a person's use of a telephone to facilitate a drug crime.
As a result, Buju's camp was left in shock and according to the artiste's lead attorney, David Oscar Markus, the Untold Stories singer is heartbroken by the decision.
“I called him (Buju) and told him about the decision. He, like me, was heartbroken. He couldn’t believe it,” Markus told the Jamaica Observer.
"He believes that we were right and would win."
Markus now calls upon Buju's legions of fans worldwide to support the highly regarded Reggae superstar in this most difficult of times.
“He’s been strong for a long while, but this is a big blow for him,” he said.
The game plan for Buju Banton and his legal team could consist of an application for a new trial, which would be the artiste's third since his initial arrest in December 2009.
“I truly believe that a good man is in jail for talking a big game. I will continue to fight for him,” Markus said.
During yesterday's proceedings, the Circuit Court rejected Buju's arguments that the government had violated a constitutional right, the Speedy Trial Act as well as claims that he had been improperly entrapped by U.S. government informant, Alex Johnson. Additionally, they did not consider Buju's application for a new trial; a matter they insisted should be deal with in District Court.
Meanwhile, The panel of three judges at yesterday's hearing agreed with the jury's conviction of the entertainer on a gun possession charge; a charge that was initially thrown out by the trial judge.