Buju Banton Retrial Set for February
Reggae star Buju Banton's retrial for buying cocaine from a police officer has been moved to February. U.S. District James Moody, originally scheduled Banton's trial for December, granted a motion by the defense to move the case to February but has yet to announce a specific date. Moody declared a mistrial last month after jurors were not able to reach a verdict on the case.
Banton, born Mark Myrie, was arrested last December and accused of conspiring to purchase five kilos of cocaine from an undercover officer in Sarasota, Fla. He has been held without bail ever since, but is hoping to be let free pending the beginning of the new trial.
While prosecutors maintain that he is guilty of attempting to purchase the contraband, Banton's lawyer claims that he is the victim rather than the criminal, siting the sting operation as an entrapment conspiracy, set-up by the U.S. government. "In addition to refusing to disclose the identity, the government has refused to identify the prior cases in which he has been involved, the outcomes of those cases, the amount of money he has earned making cases for the government, or even the amount he has been paid (or expects to be paid) in this case," Banton's lawyer argued in a previous statement.
If released, Banton is hoping to spend the holidays with his family.