As incarcerated Grammy-winning Jamaican singer, Buju Banton has received another boost in his never-ending bid for freedom as a special prosecutor from outside the United States Department of Justice will lead the case against a jury forewoman who was found to have unlawfully researched aspects of the entertainer’s drug case during his February 2011 trial.
Terri Wright, the juror in question, looked set to be slapped with criminal contempt charges by the U.S. government following a ruling by a federal judge in the July 2013 when her conduct during the trial was examined in court. However, the case remained has largely been dormant since then until news emerged Tuesday that the prosecutor has been tasked to review the matter as he plans to meet with Wright, Buju’s legan team and the federal government.
A special prosecutor is usually called in for situations when government officials are being investigated, leading to speculation that this is part of a bigger probe into potential misconduct that could improve Buju’s chances of overturning his conviction. The head of his legal team, Charles Ogletree certainly hopes so and wants Wright to face full consequences for her actions.
“Here we have a wildcat juror, somebody who’s going way beyond their authority and doing things that were completely inappropriate,” Ogletree told the Florida-based publication, the Broward Palm Beach New Times.“This undermined the search for truth, which resulted, I think, in the conviction of [Banton].”
“What Terri Wright did is contrary to everything that anyone knows about jury trials,” he continued. “Jurors… take an oath, and they need to follow it.”
Meanwhile, Buju awaits an April trial date as his appeal for a new trial and an overturning of his drug conviction continues to be reviewed by Atlanta’s 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Following initial reports that the case was dismissed due to the court not having the proper jurisdiction to rule on oral arguments made by Buju’s legal team, it was later confirmed that a panel had ordered all 11 judges of said court to review the case.
The oral arguments, made last December, are based on Wright’s misconduct during the trial as well as alleged entrapment by a U.S. informant which led to Buju’s 2009 arrest and subsequent drug-related charges.
Buju is currently serving a 10-year prison term following his February 2011 conviction and is due for release on Februay 1, 2019.