Buju Banton Found Guilty Of Cocaine Charge
A Florida jury has found Grammy-winning reggae singer Buju Banton guilty on cocaine conspiracy charges.
Jurors returned their verdict on Tuesday after deliberating for 11 hours over two days.
The 37-year-old Banton, was on trial on accusations that he conspired with two other men in setting up a drug deal in December of 2009. His album "Before the Dawn" won a Grammy last week for best reggae album.
Banton was charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, among other counts. This is Banton's second trial. A jury deadlocked in his first trial last year.
Banton could face up to 20 years in jail.
Jamaican reggae star, Buju Banton has been convicted Tuesday of conspiracy to set up a cocaine deal. Banton’s fate was sealed after the federal jury turned in their verdict after 11 hours of deliberation over the case.
The jury has reportedly evaluated the case for two days before they finalized the conviction, according to Mitch Stacy of the Associated Press. He was found guilty of three of four charges. With his conviction, Banton is facing 15 years in prison.
The sentencing hearing of 37-year-old Jamaican artists was attended by supporters including other popular reggae artists. The AP noted that showed no reaction when the sentence was read. He only stood up and hugged his attorney and then faced his supporters to blow kisses to those who were in the courtroom and said: “Thank you!”.
The AP said that Banton’s thank-you message to his supporters received a reassuring words from his supporters who yelled back “We love you, Buju!”, as the singer was being frisked away from the courtroom.
“Obviously, we are all upset and disappointed and emotional,” Banton’s attorney, David Markus was quoted as saying by the AP.
He added, “The only person who seems to be OK is Buju. He told us he was happy that he fought, knowing he was innocent”.
The singer has remained popular in Jamaica amidst the drug-related controversies he got involved in. He also received a Grammy award last week for Best Reggae Album for “Before the Dawn”.
Markus revealed that he is bent on appealing the conviction and in filing a motion for bail that will allow Banton his temporary freedom before serving in prison actually begins.