Buju Banton Expected to Take Stand Today

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Published on February 16, 2011 with No Comments

Buju Leaving Court

Buju Banton leaving his hotel for court with manager Traci McGregor (Photo: Paul Henry)

Fresh off his first ever Grammy win, reggae star Buju Banton is expected to take the stand today in his own defense during his drug conspiracy trial. Character wtiness Stephanie Black took the stand yesterday. Black, an independent film maker, told the courtroom that although Buju may be considered “boasty”, she had never known Buju (aka Mark Myrie) to be a liar nor a cocaine trafficker. Stephen Marley and Gramps Morgan are also expected to take the stand today as character witnesses.

The trial which began on Monday has already seen testimony from not-so confidential government informant, Alexander Johnson. Johnson has been accused of entrapment by Buju’s attorney David Oscar Markus. Under cross-examination today, he told the court he made no cocaine deal with Buju.

This testimony runs in direct conflict with his statements under re-examination by prosecutor Jim Preston. Johnson testified “There were two brokers, Mark Myrie and Ian Thomas. Thomas became a broker when Buju brought him in,”

The prosecution has closed its case after calling four witnesses. Buju is facing charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm during the course of a drug trafficking crime, attempting to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and using a communication facility in the commission of an act constituting a felony.

The trial is now wrapping up its third day at the US Sam Gibbons Federal Court in Tampa, Florida.

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