Reggae star Buju Banton‘s fate is set to be determined as jury selection in his 2009 cocaine possession trial has begun.
According to reports, Banton is currently facing life behind bars if convicted.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin in the cocaine trial of Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton. The four-time Grammy nominee’s trial will begin Monday in federal court in Tampa, Fla. He faces a possible life sentence if convicted. Prosecutors say Banton and an associate negotiated with an informant to buy more than five kilograms of cocaine. Along with a third man, they allegedly met with an undercover officer in Sarasota in early December to buy the drugs. The informant told Drug Enforcement Administration agents that he also saw the singer inspecting the cocaine. (New York Times)
Earlier this year, Buju pleaded his innocence in the case.
Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton has pleaded not guilty to a drug charge in a Florida federal court. Banton was arraigned Thursday (Jan. 7) on a charge of conspiring to buy more than five kilograms of cocaine from an undercover law enforcement officerin Sarasota last month. The 36-year-old singer, born Mark Myrie, did not seek bail. If he bonded out of jail, he would be held by immigration officials. Banton’s attorney says his client is innocent and does not plan to seek a deal. Banton will likely miss the Jan. 31 Grammy Awards, where he is nominated for his latest album, “Rasta Got Soul.” (Billboard)
He previously appeared in court last December when he was transferred from Miami to Tampa.
Wearing a beige jail jumpsuit and shackles, Banton, 36, sat expressionless in the front row of the Miami federal courtroom, his trademark dreadlocks pulled back off his narrow face and rolled into a bundle. Occasionally he looked out into the courtroom where, in the back row, his publicist and two members of the local Jamaican Consulate observed the proceedings. The only time Banton spoke was when he uttered his real name and age, and confirmed to U.S. Magistrate Judge William Turnoff that he was indeed waiving his bail hearing in Miami to be transferred to Tampa. (Miami Herald)
In January, Miami’s DJ Khaled vouched his support for Banton.
“Shout-out to Buju Banton,” Khaled said in an interview. “My comment is he’s a great person, he’s a great friend of mine and I know him for being a great person, great family man and being a great artist and a real dude. Buju Banton, I salute, that’s my brother right there and his music is amazing. Free Buju Banton. Free, Buju Banton…” (VIBE)
No further details have been released as of now.
Listen to Buju Banton’s “Driver A” down below::