Is Buju guilty or innocent? Florida’s courts are in the process of discovering

After receiving the Grammy for Best reggae Album ‘Before the Dawn‘ at this year’s Grammys, Buju Banton is back to fighting for his freedom. Banton faced the court last year on charges of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine and aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm, but the case was dismissed when the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Jury selection for Buju’s new trial began earlier today in Tampa, Florida – the state where Buju was arrested for allegedly possessing and attempting to distribute over 5 kilos of cocaine. The selection process took two hours, during which time 14 jurors were selected to sit on the panel for the retrial. The jury is made up almost completely of white Americans although the jurors have sworn in court that race will not play a factor in the case, nor will Buju’s celebrity status have an impact on their decision.

In the retrial, Buju faces the additional charges of attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense and using the wires to facilitate a drug-trafficking offense. “The prosecution is trying the oldest trick in the book: They are throwing everything against the wall hoping that something sticks and it’s not going to work,” said David Markus, Bantons Attorney.

From the information released there isn’t really any just reason to send Buju down, he was seen on a police video tasting cocaine but never left with any of it in his possession and on the day of the critical 5 kilo pickup he was absent. There is no evidence to show he was involved in this deal other than being at a meet arranged by so called associate, Alexander Johnson, who is an informant to the Floridian police; an informant who has made an absolute killing from setting up various drug deals resulting in convictions.

As a huge Banton fan I hope he can overcome this and continue banging out an album a year as he has done for so many. Then again he could follow the paths of Pete Doherty, Charles Manson and 2Pac and continue to record using a shonkey tape deck, behind bars.


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