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New date for Buju sentence

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

New date for Buju sentence

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TAMPA, Florida – A United States federal judge in Tampa, Florida has pushed back the sentencing date for Jamaican-born, Grammy Award-winning reggae star Buju Banton to June 23.
Banton was originally scheduled to be sentenced on June 16, but federal district Judge James S. Moody Jr. said, without any explanation, that the reggae artiste will now be sentenced on the new date.   
Banton, 37, whose real name is Mark Myrie, faces up to life in prison.
Last month, a 12-member federal jury found him guilty of three cocaine-related charges.
The jury found him guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine.
They also found him guilty of attempting to possess five kilograms or more of cocaine, and for “aiding and abetting others in using a communication facility in the commission of a felony.”
The jury, however, did not find him guilty of “knowingly and intentionally possessing a firearm in furtherance of and during the course of a drug-trafficking crime.”
The singer has maintained his innocence throughout the trial, the second since a jury reached a deadlock late last year.
Banton’s attorney, David Markus, argued that the artiste never became a willing participant of the cocaine conspiracy charged in the superseding indictment.
He said tasting the cocaine, talking about cocaine and simply being present at the warehouse is not sufficient to find Banton guilty of the crimes.
Banton was arrested on Dec. 10, 2009 in a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sting operation. (CMC)