Tag Archive | "Buju Banton"

Buju Banton 2014

Buju Banton’s lawyer argues for new trial, to hear decision in coming weeks

Buju Banton 2014Oral arguments in favour of a new trial for incarcerated reggae/dancehall legend, Mark Myrie, more popularly known as Buju Banton have finally been made, with the Grammy-winning singjay possibly having to wait until next February to know his fate.

Buju’s lawyer, Charles Ogletree made the arguments during a hearing inside a Georgia circuit court on Thursday as he attempts to overturn the musician’s 10-year conviction on drug charges. His arguments are based on inconsistencies with the case, citing findings that a juror in the case researched aspects of Buju’s case while it was on trial in February 2011, as well as alleging that he was entrapped by a paid U.S. informant, thus compromising the integrity of the case.

 The arguments were initially granted in August following an appeal three months earlier asking for a new trial. However, according to Ogletree, in an interview with IRIE FM, they may have to wait up to two months for a decision in the matter.

 “I don’t know how the court’s going to rule,” he told the radio station. “It’s still December. We expect a decision in several weeks. It may be February before they decide, but we’re holding out hope that we’ll get a reversal and that will create the opportunity for a new trial.”

 Last week there were reports that Buju requested to be released and deported to his native Jamaica following a recent shift in sentencing  guidelines for drug offenses. However, Ogletree shot down that the request would be successful as he believed the entertainer was not eligible to take advantage of the new guidelines.

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Buju Banton 2014

Buju Banton granted approval to present oral arguments in bid for new trial

Buju Banton 2014Incarcerated 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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Buju 2014

Buju Banton’s defense team claims man acting as fake agent of imprisoned deejay

Buju 2014The 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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Buju Banton

Buju Banton releases letter expressing sadness at death of Chokwe Lumumba

Buju Banton Incarcerated Reggae/Dancehall superstar has released a heartfelt letter of condolence following the recent death of his former lawyer and the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, Chokwe Lumumba.


Lumumba, who represented Buju for nearly a year as he fought his 2011 drug conviction, died in a Mississippi hospital after suffering severe chest pains on Feb. 25. Buju was forced to change lawyers following Lumumba’s successful mayoral election last July.


Buju Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, released the detailed letter on Friday expressing his shock at the death while giving insight into their relationship and how Lumumba helped him during his case. The full letter is below:


To the family and friend of the late Chokwe Lumumba:


My heart goes out to you all. I share in your grief immensely. Having been one of the many lives Atty. Lumumba has touched. Its with a deep sense of privation that I mourned the passing of my friend and another great black freedom fighter .Atty. Chokwe Lumumba, a warrior just like the great leader, Patrice Lumumba, who fought for the liberation of the Congo in Africa.

Atty. Lumumba fought for many who could not stand up against a profaned system that is filled with injustice.A well disciplined and principled man. We first met while I was going through the litigation process stemming from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal decision to reinstate a gun charge. A charge that was previously dismissed by the district court judge.

This tall, dignified black man walked into the visiting room at the F.C.J Miami, introduced himself and got right down to business. Atty. Lumumba had already done his homework concerning my case and clearly saw something was amiss.He never tried to sugar coat his thoughts. He believed it {was} imperative and made it very clear that I should do the same.

Throughout those protracted months I spent at the Pinellas County Jail in Tampa, FL, Atty. Lumumba called at least twice weekly. To discuss my case and ascertain all was well with me. He traveled all the way from Mississippi to Florida for attorney client visits. All these actions of genuine interest in my situation, gave me confidence in Atty Lumumba. We developed mutual respect for each other.

His appraisal for my chances as it regards justice was always realistic. Hence his proactive approach as oppose to being reactive. This brought about a favorable outcome, with the gun charge being dismissed. At the end of the evidentiary hearings in 2013, Atty. Lumumba looked me in the eyes and said, “What did you do to these people. This is not justice at all. From the gate you have been screwed”.

Now having gone through a battery of Attorneys and immense suffering, I knew without a doubt that there were some hidden forces at work and I was being shafted. Lumumba also advised me that having been elected Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, he was unable to continue his career as a defense Attorney.


However, he went on to recommend a few attorneys whom he believed would effectively assist me. Atty. Lumumba also reached out to my current Attorney, Professor Charles Ogletree. In parting, Atty. Lumumba again said “Mark its going to be an uphill struggle. I saw what they did to you and unfortunately, you didn’t see it coming. Once they have you, it’s hell to break free from their chains son. I wish you all the best. You can call me anytime for anything at all. However I can render assistance, trust me, I will.

We spoke several times after he was no longer my official representative. Even through third parties ,even as recent as two days before his passing. So I was not only shocked but also in a state of denial. Atty Lumumba was vigorous and energetic, even when he spoke in a subtle manner. How could this happen without warning? This is really sad. I just have to pay my respects in whatever way I can. Thank you for the time you dedicated to my cause. It will be with me forever and the countless others whom you have touched with your passion for justice.


I know you are in a much better place. If what they say is true, then you are still fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves. Farewell my friend. You shall be greatly missed.


Lumumba’s body currently lies in state at Jackson’s City Hall ahead of his scheduled funeral on Saturday at the Jackson Convention Complex.


It was announced last week that Buju’s new lawyer, Charles Ogletree filed documentation seeking a new trial in a U.S. appeals court.

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Chokwe Lumumba

Chokwe Lumumba, former lawyer for Buju Banton, dies at 66

Chokwe LumumbaChokwe Lumumba, the recently-elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi and former lawyer of incarcerated Reggae/Dancehall superstar, Buju Banton has died at the age of 66.

Lumumba reportedly died of heart failure at St. Dominic’s Hospital after complaining of chest pains on Tuesday. However, no official cause of death has been released at this time.

Known as a civil rights activist and a black radical, Lumumba was regarded as one of the most prominent leaders of a major city to come from the black revolutionary movement. He also served as an accomplished lawyer for several decades, representing late, great rapper, Tupac Shakur, as well as his step-aunt, Assata Shakur, once a member of the Black Panther Party.

In August 2012, 14 months after receiving his 10-year sentence on drug charges, Buju Banton hired Lumumba as his new lawyer in an effort to continue his fight for freedom. Lumumba wa instrumental in bringing forward a case of alleged juror misconduct in the deejay’s February 2011 trial, in which juror Terri Wright was found to have researched aspect of his case during the trial. However, she was not charged with contempt as a result of the misconduct.

Lumumba also helped Buju avoid an additional five-year sentence on a gun charge originally thrown out during the trial.

However, Lumumba left his role as Buju’s lawyer last July after being elected the mayor of Jackson.

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Buju Banton

Buju Banton may change lawyers in drug case

Buju BantonEmbattled Dancehall/Reggae artist, Mark Myrie, more popularly known as Buju Banton may be forced to change his legal representation for a second time just days after a gun conviction against him was dismissed in a Florida courthouse.

The possible move comes as a result of Buju’s lead lawyer, Chokwe Lumumba being elected the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi earlier this month. With Lumumba set to begin his term on July 1, Buju’s co-counsel, Imhotep Alkebu-Lan conceded to the Jamaica Gleaner on Thursday that the singer will likely have to look for new representation, though no final decision has been made.

Prior to that decision, Buju will have to decide whether or not to appeal a federal judge’s decision not to grant the Grammy-winning entertainer a retrial in his drug case.

On Wednesday, Judge James Moody threw out a gun conviction against, which would have carried an additional five years on his ten-year prison term for drug-related convictions. Additionally, Judge Moody ordered the government to charge Terri Wright, a juror on Buju’s February 2011 drug trial, with criminal contempt after it was deemed she violated federal court orders by researching aspects of the singer’s case during the trial.

Buju Banton now has 14 days to appeal Moody’s decision not to grant a retrial while prosecutors have 30 days to appeal the dismissal of the gun conviction.

Last August, Buju dropped lead attorney, David Oscar Markus in favor of Lumumba weeks after a failed appeal to overturn his drug conviction, which led to the reinstatement of a gun charge initially tossed out in the February 2011 trial.




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Buju Banton 2013

Buju Banton gun conviction dismissed as trial juror faces contempt charge

Buju Banton 2013Embattled Dancehall/Reggae superstar, Mark Myrie, more popularly known as Buju Banton has received a reprieve in his fight to overturn his drug conviction as a gun charge against the entertainer was dismissed during a hearing inside a Florida courtroom Wednesday afternoon.

The ruling, handed down by Judge James Moody was made after it was determined that Terri Wright, a juror in Buju’s February 2011 drug trial, violated federal court orders by independently researching aspects of the singjay’s case. This means that Buju, currently serving a ten-year prison term on several drug-related charges, will not have to serve five additional years as a result of the gun charge, which was reinstated following a failed appeal last summer.

Judge Moody has ordered the United States government to slap a criminal contempt charge against Wright as a result of her alleged misconduct. Wright could face up to six months in prison, as well as a fine if found guilty on contempt.

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Buju Banton

Buju Banton back in court on June 26

Buju Banton

Embattled Reggae/Dancehall superstar, Buju Banton will return to court June 26 in his juror misconduct case as he seeks a new trial.

Buju, who’s real name is Mark Myrie, was ordered to appear by Judge James Moodyalong with Terri Wright, the juror who is alleged to have violated court orders during the singjay’s February 2011 drug trial. The date was set late Tuesday, just over two weeks after a new development in the case in which a forensic expert hired by Banton concluded that she brought a desktop computer hard drive for examination of her alleged misconduct instead of a laptop she used during the trial.

Wright’s lawyer, Lori Palmieri later claimed her client misspoke in calling her computer a laptop. The aforementioned hard drive had over 1.6 million records during the trial’s duration, which were examined by the expert. However, it was determined none of those records pertained to the trial

Wright admitted to a Florida newspaper last fall that she researched aspects of Buju’s case, but later insisted this took place three weeks after the trial concluded. She has now been summoned to court to answer the forensic expert’s findings as well as issues raised in a motion filed by Buju’s legal team pertaining to a new trial.

Buju is still set to serve six more years of a ten-year sentence on drug-related charges stemming from a December 2009 incident in Florida. A gun charge, which was thrown out during the initial ruling was reinstated following a failed appeal on his conviction.

As a result, the entertainer was due to face a re-sentencing hearing and five additional year in prison in relation to the gun charge. However, the hearing was postponed after Buju’s team successfully filed an application to investigate the alleged misconduct.

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Buju Banton

Buju Banton’s misconduct case revived following new revelation

Buju BantonEvery time it appears embattled Reggae/Dancehall superstar, Buju Banton has reached dead end in his pursuit for freedom, a new pathway clears for the singer. That trend has been evidenced yet again as his juror misconduct case appears to have regained life.

On Wednesday, during a hearing in Tampa, FL, it was determined that Terri Wright, a juror accused of violating court orders in Buju’s February 2011 drug trial, submitted the wrong computer hard drive for an examination conducted by the singer’s forensic expert to determine if she illegally researched aspects of the case. However, Wright, who insisted she used a laptop during the trial, submitted a hard drive for an old desktop computer.

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Buju Banton

Buju Banton’s case stalled as juror’s computer yields no evidence of misconduct

Buju BantonEmbattled Reggae/Dancehall icon, Mark Myrie, more popularly known as Buju Banton has suffered a big blow in his charge for an early release from prison after a thorough search of a juror’s computer yielded no signs of misconduct during the singjay’s February 2011 drug trial.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that an IT investigator, hired by Buju searched a computer owned by Terri Wright, a juror in the singer’s trial who allegedly researched aspects of his case during the trial and subsequent deliberations. The search yielded approximately 1.6 million internet history records in total. However, at a court hearing in Tampa earlier this week, it was revealed that none of the records found were dated Feb. 14 to March 8, 2011, covering his trial and the two weeks that followed, meaning no trace of misconduct had been detected.

These results let Buju’s legal team to claim Wright gave them the wrong device to search. However, Ms. Wright’s attorney, Lori Palmieri insisted it was her only computer.

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Buju Banton

Buju trial takes shape as jurors give contrasting statements in misconduct case

Buju BantonEmbattled Reggae singer, Mark Myrie aka Buju Banton may be gaining some traction in his juror misconduct case as one of the jurors in his February 2011 drug trial said the alleged violation involving foreman, Terri Wright was discussed in the jury room.

However, there remain more questions than answers after the juror misconduct trial resumed on Monday as some of the eight jurors subpoenaed to the US Sam Gibbons Court in Tampa, FL gave contrasting evidence as to whether or not Wright committed the alleged act. One of the jurors reportedly claimed he knew nothing about the supposed misconduct.

Wright appeared at Monday’s hearing with her computer hard drive, as ordered by presiding judge, James Moody, where a computer specialist would examine it to determine if any evidence of this misconduct existed.

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Anthony B mugshot

Anthony B facing drug charge in the United States

Yet another Jamaican entertainer has gotten himself in trouble with American law enforcement as Reggae veteran, Anthony B faces drug related charges in Georgia.

Anthony B mugshotThe entertainer, whose real name is Keith Blair, was taken into custody by police in Georgia on January 27 as he’s accused of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute. Anthony B’s mugshot later appeared on www.bustedmugshots.com with details of his arrest.

If convicted, Anthony B could face at least year in prison as marijuana-related offences are treated as felonies in the southern American state.

This incident makes Anthony B the latest in a long list of Jamaican entertainers since the turn of the decade who have faced drug-related charges in the United States, with the most publicized case being that of Reggae legend, Buju Banton, who is serving a 10-year sentence on cocaine charges in Florida. Fellow Reggae veteran, Denroy Morgan was charged with possession of 25 pounds of marijuana in New York but walked away with probation and a small fine last December after initially facing a jail term of up to 20 years.

Another Reggae crooner, Eek-A-Mouse was deported to the United States from Paraguay in December as he faces drug-related charges, as well as a rape charge.

Meanwhile, internationally-acclaimed singjay, Busy Signal was extradited to the United States last May and later served a six month prison term in a Minnesota-based facility for absconding bail in relation to a 2002 drug case. However, the drug charges stemming from that Minnesota were dropped as Busy pleaded guilty to absconding bail only and left the United States immediately after his release.

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Video: Romain Virgo - Rich in Love

Video: Romain Virgo – Rich in Love

Known for serving up Jamaica’s freshest beats and top-notch cuisine in downtown Manhattan, Miss Lily’s has become a social and cultural hub for all things Caribbean. The island aesthetic is reflected throughout the swanky decor of their restaurant, bakery, juice bar and variety shop – which serves as a record store, gallery space and home to Internet broadcast station, Radio Lily. Miss Lily’s Variety Shop, located directly next door to the restaurant, celebrates their first year in business and launches a brand new CD series Miss Lily’s Family Style (VP Records) on January 22.

The first installment is executive produced by Radio Lily resident DJ Max Glazer along with one of Miss Lily’s founding partners, Paul Salmon, who also owns Jamaica’s award-winning Rockhouse Hotel and co-founded Joe’s Pub in Manhattan. Enclosed in the CD’s vintage vinyl-inspired packaging are in-depth liner notes written by reggae journalist and Radio Lily DJ Rob Kenner along with a free download card of a 43-minute mix by DJ Max Glazer.

Miss Lily’s family of DJs and tastemakers have carefully selected fifteen of their must-have favorites – including certified classics like Sizzla’s “Just One of Those Days,” Tanya Stephens’ “It’s A Pity” and Buju Banton & Wayne Wonder’s “Bonafide Love” as well as modern day anthems like Busy Signal’s “One More Time,” Vybz Kartel’s “Whine,” Konshens’ “So Mi Tan” and Gappy Ranks’ “Pumpkin Belly.”

1. Sizzla – Just One of Those Days
2. Mr. Vegas – Mus Come a Road
3. Gappy Ranks- Pumpkin Belly
4. Tarrus Riley – Original Dancehall
5. Buju Banton & Wayne Wonder – Bonafide Love
6. Gyptian – Hold You
7. Konshens- So Mi Tan
8. Busy Signal – Real Spenders
9.Vybz Kartel – Whine
10. Lil Rick- Guh Down
11. Kes The Band – Wotless
12. Romain Virgo – I Am Rich in Love
13. Tanya Stephens – It’s a Pity
14. Queen Ifrica – Below the Waist
15. Busy Signal- One More Night

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Buju’s studies behind bars interrupted by latest court development

BujuWhile anticipating the results of an ongoing investigation regarding possible juror misconduct during his drug trial, embattled Reggae icon, Buju Banton will be made to wait in his pursuit of higher learning behind bars.

Buju, who was sentenced to a prison term of 10 years inside a Florida courtroom, indicated shortly thereafter that he would pursue a Masters Degree in political science and economics. However, Buju’s lawyer, Chokwe Lumumba revealed that the Grammy-winning singjay’s educational journey has been halted due to the investigation into a possible juror violation during his February 2011 trial.

Originally, Buju Banton served his prison term while at a low security federal prison in Groesbeck, Texas before being moved to a Miami-based facility due to safety concerns. After successfully delving into his studies for the last 18 months, Buju’s time in the classroom remains on hold now that he’s housed at the Pinellas County Jail in Tampa, FL until the current investigation is resolved.

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Progress in Buju case as judge expands probe into alleged juror misconduct

BujuEmbattled Reggae megastar, Buju Banton may be gaining steam in his ongoing fight to overturn a ten year sentence on drug charges as his case for a mistrial took a positive twist on Friday.

U.S. District Judge, James Moody ordered marshals to seize computers belonging to Terri Wright, a juror in Buju’s February 2011 drug trial who’s accused of misconduct in the matter. Buju’s legal team successfully filed a motion requesting this seizure take place in order to prove that Wright violated federal court laws by researching aspects of the Reggae artiste’s court case.

If evidence is found to back up this claim by Grammy winning entertainer’s legal team, it could trigger a mistrial in the matter.

Additionally, Judge Moody told lawyers during a conference call on Wednesday that he plans to subpoena more jurors and conduct another hearing to explore whether or not Wright violated court orders.

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Evidentiary hearing set in Buju’s drug case

There’s better news today for embattled Jamaican entertainer, Buju Banton as an evidentiary hearing has been set to explore allegations that a juror violated protocol in his drug trial last year.

According to reports, the hearing has been secured by Buju’s lawyer, Chokwe Lumumba in conjunction with his defense support committee. The evidentiary hearing will take place on December 20 at the Sam M. Gibbons Federal Courthouse in Tampa, FL on December 20 at 9:30 a.m.

The court has reportedly summoned four jurors to this hearing, one of whom admitted to reporters last month that she researched aspects of Buju Banton’s drug case prior to deliberation. Should that juror, Terri Wright, be proven to have done so, a mistrial could be ruled in Buju’s drug case as researching facts for federal trials constitutes a violation of court orders.

In her defense, Wright claims that despite doing such research, it had no influence on her thinking through the trial in which Buju was convicted of three drug charges and subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Buju Banton still faces an additional five years in prison on a gun charge that was reinstated during the summer after an appeal to overturn his conviction fell through. However, a re-sentencing hearing on said gun charge was postponed after Lumumba’s application for an investigation into the alleged juror misconduct was approved.

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