Buju out on bail
Jamaican reggae star, Buju Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, has been released from jail on bond after being imprisoned for a year in federal penitentiary here on drug trafficking charges.
His lead lawyer, David Markus, said he had been working on Myrie’s release for a long time and that the judge finally signed off on his conditioned freedom on Wednesday.
The singer walked out of the Pinellas County Jail saddled with strict stipulations, including paying for a private security detail to guard him so he doesn’t flee and signing an extradition waiver ensuring his return if he does flee the country.
In addition, Myrie must wear an electronic monitoring device at all times.
Stephen Marley, Myrie’s friend and fellow reggae singer, who is the son of legendary reggae superstar, Bob Marley, reportedly put up US$300,000 in equity on his house for Myrie’s bond.
Myrie was tried on the drug charge in September, but a federal judge declared a mistrial after jurors couldn’t agree on a verdict. He will reportedly be tried again in February.
Jailed since last December, on “conspiracy to possess, with intent to distribute, more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, Myrie had been repeatedly denied bail until Wednesday.
He has maintained his innocence, claiming he was framed by US government informants. Two other men arrested with him have since pleaded guilty, and are still waiting to be sentenced.