Jun 25, 2012
BUJU Banton's failure last week to have an appellate court in the United States overturn his 2011 drug conviction and 10 year prison sentence has resurrected speculation that there may be an effort to go after the Grammy-winning reggae artiste's assets. But yesterday, Buju's lead attorney David Oscar Markus sought to lay to rest the speculations that the US Government may try to seize the artiste's assets.
"There is absolutely no way that the Government can go after Buju's remaining assets. The Government never alleged that Buju made any money off of this drug deal," Markus told the Jamaica Observer.
"The government has never attempted to go after his assets, nor could they. This really is a non-issue," said the attorney. "Buju is a Grammy-award winning musician who has worked hard for what he has."
Last Thursday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta Georgia dismissed Buju's appeal against his cocaine, conspiracy and trafficking charges conviction. The court, in the process, said it agreed with the artiste's gun conviction that was dismissed by the trial judge last year February.
A day after the appellate court's ruling, Markus told the Observer that within 30 days he would be filing a motion seeking a new trial.
Buju, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was first tried in September of 2010 but the matter ended with a hung jury. That led to the second trial in which the reggae star was convicted.
A somber mood persists within the camp of incarcerated Dancehall/Reggae megastar, Buju Banton a day after an appeal on behalf of the Grammy-winning entertainer was dismissed.
On Thursday, the United States Court of Appeal for the 11th Circuit upheld Buju Banton's conviction on drug charges in February of last year and subsequent 10 year sentence regarding said charges last June. In its ruling, the Atlanta-based Circuit Court agreed with the jury's decision to convict Buju Banton of three charges, including conspiracy to distribute cocaine and aiding and abetting a person's use of a telephone to facilitate a drug crime.
As a result, Buju's camp was left in shock and according to the artiste's lead attorney, David Oscar Markus, the Untold Stories singer is heartbroken by the decision.
“I called him (Buju) and told him about the decision. He, like me, was heartbroken. He couldn’t believe it,” Markus told the Jamaica Observer.
"He believes that we were right and would win."
Markus now calls upon Buju's legions of fans worldwide to support the highly regarded Reggae superstar in this most difficult of times.
“He’s been strong for a long while, but this is a big blow for him,” he said.
The game plan for Buju Banton and his legal team could consist of an application for a new trial, which would be the artiste's third since his initial arrest in December 2009.
“I truly believe that a good man is in jail for talking a big game. I will continue to fight for him,” Markus said.
During yesterday's proceedings, the Circuit Court rejected Buju's arguments that the government had violated a constitutional right, the Speedy Trial Act as well as claims that he had been improperly entrapped by U.S. government informant, Alex Johnson. Additionally, they did not consider Buju's application for a new trial; a matter they insisted should be deal with in District Court.
Meanwhile, The panel of three judges at yesterday's hearing agreed with the jury's conviction of the entertainer on a gun possession charge; a charge that was initially thrown out by the trial judge.