David Markus, the attorney representing embattled Reggae singer, Buju Banton, says the artiste’s trial has been pushed back to April and will not start by next month as was anticipated.
Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, has been in Florida jail since December and is facing drug and conspiracy charges, in that state.
According to Markus the case was re-scheduled to ensure that it continues without a break.
“It has been pushed back because there were so many conflicts. The prosecution’s agent will be having a baby in March and April 12 is the only date convenient for all parties,” Markus told Chat!.
Banton was arrested at his Tamarac home in South Florida after Federal Agents accused him of negotiating with undercover agents to purchase five or more kilograms of cocaine at Sarasota in Tampa, Florida.
The agents claim to have footage showing the artiste tasting cocaine in a Federally controlled warehouse.
Markus could not confirm reports that prosecutors will be trying to bolster their case against the artiste by flying in witnesses from Jamaica to testify against him.
“The prosecution is not obligated to show a witness list and they have not shown us one,” Markus said.
The postponement of the start of the trial means Banton will have to spend another month in jail, as he opted to waive his right to a bail hearing. If Banton made bail he would immediately be re-arrested by US immigration authorities who have revoked a travel waiver he used during his extensive US tour last year to promote his album, Rasta Got Soul, which was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Markus, who had earlier this year stated his intent to apply for the immigration detainer to be lifted, said it may not be possible to make the application just yet.
“We have not been able to make that application and we may have to wait till the trial begins before we can try to do that,” he said.
Markus intends to prove to that the US Government entrapped his client into purchasing cocaine and had used a paid informant to inveigle him for almost a year.
Markus also intends to get the prosecutors to reveal the name of the paid informant and how much he was paid to trap the artiste.