Posted on 09 September 2014.
Fans of incarcerated Reggae stalwart, Buju Banton are being given a legitimate ray of hope the singer will regain his freedom after his lawyer intimated Monday that his client may be freed from a U.S. federal prison this year, should his appeal to overturn his drug conviction be successful.
The singer applied for a new trial earlier in May, via his legal team headed by Harvard University law professor, Charles Ogletree and was granted a reprieve in August after an American appeals court approved his request to present oral arguments supporting his reasoning for wanting a new trial. However, no date nor venue has been set as of yet, though it is expected to happen very soon.
Said arguments are on the basis that Buju was entrapped by a paid U.S. informant and that his case was compromised after it was found that a juror in the singer’s February 2011 trial unlawfully researched aspects of his drug case while the trial was ongoing.
Ogletree told IRIE FM in an interview Monday afternoon that he is pleased with the progress of Buju’s appeal and is confident a resolution can soon be reached.
“These things I think show serious setbacks in this case and show that the 11th circuit [appeals court] is at least concerned about what happened here and I’m prepared to argue it as strongly as I can” he said. “I expect that Buju Banton’s convictions will be reversed, that he will be out this year and that he will be performing again, both in Florida and in Jamaica.”
Atty. Ogletree also said that should Buju’s conviction be overturned, he will apply to have Buju’s status as a convicted felon wiped away so he can be able to perform in the United States without restrictions. Additionally, he anticipate many of the singer’s supporters to be on hand once the arguments are being made.
Buju Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, is serving a 10-year sentence after being convicted of three drug offences during that 2011 trial. His current expected release date is February 1, 2019.
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Posted on 19 August 2014.
Incarcerated Reggae/Dancehall entertainer, Mark Myrie, more popularly known as Buju Banton has been granted approval by a U.S. appeals court to make oral arguments in a bid for a new trial as he attempts to overturn his conviction on drug-related charges.
The breakthrough came on Monday following an appeal submitted in May by Buju’s legal team, headed by Harvard Law School professor, Charles Ogletree asking that Buju be granted a new trial and oral arguments on the basis that the singer was entrapped by a paid U.S. informant and that his case was compromised after a juror in his 2011 trial was found to have unlawfully researched aspects of the case while it was taking place.
A statement issued by the Buju Banton Defense Support Committee detailed the latest developments in the matter.
It reads, “In May 2014 the Defense Team for Jamaican Reggae Superstar, Buju Banton, filed an appeal to the U.S. Appellate Court requesting the artiste be granted oral arguments and a new trial. Buju’s attorney, Professor Charles Ogletree, submitted a compact and powerful document detailing Buju Banton’s innocence. The Court has responded favourably by granting approval to the oral arguments.
The brief states that Buju Banton was entrapped by a paid informant in December 2009. It gives clear evidence that the foreperson of the jury, Mrs. Terri Wright, acted against the District Court’s instructions by researching information on the case during the trial and that Mrs. Wright further presented the Court with the wrong computer hard drive on which she did her research.”
No date has been issued by the appeals court for the oral arguments to be heard. However. Ogletree expressed satisfaction with the approval of Buju’s request, saying that the court’s decision is a ‘positive step towards justice, victory and freedom for the incarcerated reggae icon.'”
Buju was convicted on three drug-related charges in February 2011 and later sentenced to 10 years in prison, counting time already served. His term is slated to end in February 2019.
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Posted on 16 July 2014.
Markus Myrie, acclaimed producer and the son of incarcerated Reggae superstar, Buju Banton is warning the public of scammers who have been pretending to be representatives of his record label,Markus Records, seeking assistance with Buju’s legal fees.
This is the second alleged scam in relation to Buju in as many months. In May, Buju’s defense committee warned of an impostor acting as the embattled singer’s agent; approaching promoters seeking money for a concert in Trinidad in his honor. A statement from the committee said Buju had not given anyone the authority to act as an agent on his behalf and that no such concert existed, warning persons to call the authorities if receiving a call from said impostor.
Myrie says he was made aware of this latest scam recently and says neither he, nor his father are seeking any assistance for Buju’s legal fees and are warning the public to be careful if approached by these alleged scammers.
“It has recently reached me that there are imposters who are pretending to be me and are claiming that they are seeking funds to help my father,” Myrie said in a release issued Tuesday, his father’s 41st birthday. “I want to tell Jamaica and the rest of the world that this is the farthest thing from the truth.”
“You have some very unscrupulous individuals out there who are trying to tarnish my reputation, but I will not have it,”it continued “These imposters are calling around entertainers and other media personnel saying that they are Markus and are collecting money. I am asking the public to be very careful about who they hand over their hard-earned money to. Under no circumstances should you give any money to anyone who claims that they are representatives of Buju Banton. Neither my father nor I have given that right to anyone to collect money on his behalf.”
Buju Banton remains housed in an American federal facility as he continues to serve his 10-year sentence on drug related charges. Earlier this year, the legendary singer appealed for a new trial and is now being represented by Harvard law professor, Charles Ogletree.
Buju is eligible for release in February 2019.
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Posted on 18 May 2014.
The legal team and official defense support committee of incarcerated Dancehall/Reggae singer, Mark Myrie, more popularly known as Buju Banton, has spoken out against a purported scam being committed against the entertainer as they say someone has been falsely acting as an agent on the entertainer’s behalf.
After recently making the discovery, The Buju Banton Defense Support Committee issued a statement Sunday denouncing this alleged scam.
“It has been brought to the attention of The Buju Banton Defense Support Committee and Buju Banton’s attorney, Professor Charles Ogletree that a certain individual has approached promoters with the false claim that he is the local agent for renowned reggae musician, Buju Banton,” the statement read. “He has further sought to swindle monies by stating he is authorized to collect funds for a concert being held for Buju Banton in Trinidad during this year.”
We wish to warn the public that it is totally untrue. Buju Banton has not given such rights to anyone in Trinidad. Nor is a concert being organized at this time.
Anyone seeking to do this would suffer legal consequences. We urge that you immediately inform the authorities of anyone who solicits monies from you for that purpose.
Buju Banton is grateful to his many fans for their support and prayers.”
Buju Banton continues to serve his 10-year prison sentence on drug-related charges and remains due for release in 2019. However, the deejay recently applied for a new trial in an American court of appeal as he continues to fight his2011 conviction.
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Posted on 20 February 2014.
Jamaican Reggae megastar, Buju Banton
has formally filed for a new trial as he continues his relentless fight for freedom from his drug conviction.According to reports Wednesday
, the musician’s legal team filed a 55-page document arguing for a retrial in a U.S. Court of Appeal (11th Circuit Court of Appeal) on Feb. 4. Buju is being represented by a new legal team: Jack Cushman, Max Stern
and Charles Ogletree
, the latter a Harvard University
law professor who once represented hip-hop legend, Tupac Shakur
and taught American president, Barack Obama
and the First Lady, Michelle Obama.
This is Buju’s third legal team since his February 2011 conviction on drug charges. He was previously represented by David Oscar Markus and Chokwe Lumumba, the latter pulling out after being elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi last summer.
Buju Banton was sentenced to 10 years in prison in June 2011 on three drug charges in relation to a December 2009 arrest at a warehouse following a U.S. Drug Enforcement sting operation, in which it was alleged he tried to buy cocaine from an undercover officer.
A gun-related charge originally slapped on him following the arrest was dropped last June after being previously reinstated following a failed appeal.
A juror in his 2011 trial, Terri Wright was found guilty of misconduct for allegedly researching facts on his case during the proceedings. However, authorities later decided not to file contempt charges against her.
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