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Mistrial declared in reggae singer Buju Banton's drug case

Buju Banton mistrial Perhaps the drums beaten on Buju Banton's behalf this weekend by Rastafarian elders at a two-night vigil in Jamaica had an effect: A mistrial was declared Monday for the reggae singer, who was arrested in December on suspicion of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine.

Jurors, who began deliberations Thursday in Tampa, Fla., told the judge twice Monday that they could not come to a decision after the four-day trial. Banton is also charged with aiding two others in possessing a firearm during the course of cocaine distribution.

Though Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was returned to lockup, his attorney has requested he be released on bail. The singer, who faces up to life in prison if convicted, testified that taped conversations in which he discussed cocaine with a government informant were meant only to impress the man, not to set up an actual drug deal. Bob Marley's son Stephen Marley testified as a character witness on Banton's behalf.

The informant said the four-time Grammy nominee — known for anti-gay lyrics in the past — had admitted involvement in drug trafficking and wanted to provide money with which to buy drugs. The other two men arrested in the sting have pleaded guilty. A new trial will begin in December.

Seems birthday boy Lil Wayne isn't the only recording artist releasing new music this week from prison: Banton's "Before the Dawn," with 10 songs recorded last year before his arrest, will drop Tuesday.

— Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Buju Banton in 2006 at the Century Club in L.A. That show had to be moved from the Highlands in Hollywood because of a protest over the singer's anti-gay reputation. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times.

Related dispatches from the Ministry of Gossip:

More details emerge in the Buju Banton drug case

Buju Banton arrested on a federal drug charge


Comments () | Archives (5)

Why do so many news outlets insist on perpetuating misinformation about Buju? The man has made a plethora of music relating to hardships, Black consciousness, peace, and livity. Despite this, many sites repeatedly point out ONE SONG he made at AGE FIFTEEN in response to the rape of a young boy. The media outlets/gay lobbyists can demonize Buju Banton all they want; he still stands for more noble ideals than the majority of those who chastise him. How many fifteen year old are held accountable for their comments twenty years later? It's just another strategic way to wrongly depict conscious Black artists.

Also, anyone else find it funny that a four time Grammy nominee is receiving limited media exposure in light of his trial? I bet it'd be the same for contemporary artists... right?

The conspiracy, is to imprisoned another conscious black man.

Stand strong Buju/Mark Myrie,You will alright,many,many,people is praying for You,blessed.

Buju my brother..have no fear, for the Almighty Father is always here. I have been praying for your deliverance in more than one way. To the fans, friends, and family…Please recite Psalm 56 and 91 daily until the release of Mark Anthony Myrie. He will be released in the name of the Jesus (Our Saviour). Cause only the father, the father, the father, only he alone can see you through. Trust in god with all your heart. Buju, God has a way of getting our attention…he wants to use you in a good way. Look at this as a way of getting ready for a “Higher Height”. Stay Blessed.

Christie D'Zurilla here from MOG with a gentle reminder that per our terms of service, we do not publish comments that include race-based slurs, no matter which race is being slurred.

Thanks for reading.



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