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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Update: Buju Banton Awaits Judge’s Decision On New Trial Motion

Buju Banton and his lawyers appeared in the the Sam M Gibbons federal court in Tampa Florida for the hearing in his quest for a new trial, early Thursday morning (Dec. 20).

Wright testified that she only researched Banton’s music and the federal Pinkerton rule, which involves liability among conspirators for the actions of other conspirators.
There was no proof that Banton possessed a gun or was aware that a co-defendant did, but because of the Pinkerton rule, Banton was convicted of a weapons offense. Moody tossed the gun charge, but an appeals court reversed that decision.
Wright said she told Sweeney that she had been a juror seven times before serving on Banton’s case, but she did not volunteer that information to prosecutors or Banton’s attorneys “because that wasn’t a question” during jury selection.
Banton’s attorneys have filed a motion in Tampa federal court seeking a new trial.
If granted, it would be the second mistrial for Banton, whose first trial in 2010 ended with jurors deadlocked. He was convicted in 2011 in his second trial.
U.S. District Judge James Moody reserved judgment Thursday on the defense motion.
Moody called a sampling of three other jurors to ask if they remembered hearing other jury members talk about doing outside research. Two testified that had not heard anything, but one said she recalled a white female juror saying she had researched the Pinkerton law. Wright is black.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James Preston said Banton’s defense had not met the legal requirement for a mistrial by showing that the jury was exposed to outside evidence that posed a reasonable possibility of prejudice to the defendant.
Defense lawyer Chokwe Lumumba said jurors were ready to acquit Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, before Wright shared her research.
Banton is popular in his native Jamaica and won a Grammy for his last album before his drug conviction.
Buju Banton is currently serving a 10 year prison sentence.
If convicted on the gun charge, the Gargamel could get an additional five years.

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