Jailed reggae artist Buju Banton received positive news on Monday after Florida court jurors declared a mistrial in his felony drug case after four days of discussions.
Details on the mistrial landed online Monday (September 27) evening.
The Florida drug trial of Jamaican reggae artist Buju Banton ended in a mistrial on Monday when jurors said they could not agree on a verdict after three days of deliberations. The 12-member jury had been meeting since Thursday after a four-day trial at the U.S. Courthouse in Tampa. U.S. District Judge James Moody said a retrial would not begin until at least December. (ABC News)
Despite audio tapes, jurors could not reach a definite decision.
During the four-day trial which ended last week, prosecutors played audio recordings in which Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, and the informant discussed drugs, ideas for shipping drugs, and dollar amounts. Prosecutors said the tapes showed Banton wanted to finance drug deals. The 37-year-old performer testified he only talked about drugs with the informant in order to impress him. Questioned by Banton’s lawyer, the informant, Alexander Johnson, acknowledged Banton had never given him money. (BBC News)
Awaiting approval for bail, Banton’s case will restart this winter.
The informant said the four-time Grammy nominee — known for anti-gay lyrics in the past — had admitted involvement in drug trafficking and wanted to provide money with which to buy drugs. The other two men arrested in the sting have pleaded guilty. A new trial will begin in December. (Los Angeles Times)
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 revealed as of now.