Buju Banton's New Trial Starts Today, Still Facing Life In Prison
After winning big at last night’s Grammy award ceremony, bringing home the trophy for Best Reggae Album, Buju Banton must quickly change gears back to fighting for his life in the court of law.
Jury selection is expected to begin today (February 14) in Tampa, Florida for a new trial after Banton’s last hearing ended in a mistrial.
Banton is accused of conspiring to buy cocaine from an undercover officer and faces up to life in prison.
“February 14 is Valentine’s Day. We hope the jury gives us some love,” says the entertainer’s attorney David Markus. “Buju is optimistic and hopeful. He is in good spirits. He is a rock. No one realizes how hard it is to fight the federal government in one trial, let alone two.”
Banton, who said he had no real intentions of either buying or selling cocaine, said that he only told the undercover agent of the plan to impress him because he believed the agent had good contacts in the music industry.
The reggae singer born Mark Myrie was arrested in December 2009 and held in Florida jails until November following his mistrial, when he was released on house arrest after being bailed out by Stephen Marley.
The trial was supposed to start last December but was postponed so Banton could spend time with his family and reportedly perform to raise money for his trial expenses.