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Buju's Grammy will not impact case... says his lawyer

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Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

Buju Banton (left) accompanied by his lawyer David Oscar Markus
Tampa, Florida:

BUJU BANTON'S attorney does not intend to use the artiste's recent victory at the Grammy Awards to assist in arguing his innocence and neither does he believe it will have a bearing on the case.
Instead, David Oscar Markus says he will be fighting to prove 10 crucial points to the jury that the Jamaican superstar is merely a victim of a pay cheque seeking confidential informant paid by a United States Agency.
He has already accused the informant, Alexander Johnson, who has been paid more than US$50,000 to help the US law enforcement on the case of being 'a master manipulator.'
"It is about a con artist trying to set up a recording artiste," Markus told the court.
The prosecutor has said there is no evidence Buju invested any of the $135,000 into the cocaine deal nor did he get a dime out of it.
During opening statements yesterday, Markus showed the jury a huge chart plastered with album covers and photographs of Buju Banton. He told them that all Buju wanted to do and has ever been involved in was music.
"He grew up very poor and he fell in love with reggae," Markus told the court. He even told the jurors that Banton has produced more number-one hits than Bob Marley and that 'The Gargamel' was just being set up.
"This is a reggae musician who loves what he does," he said of Banton.
Banton, 38, whose real name is Mark Myrie, has been accused of conspiring with two associates to buy a shipment of cocaine from an undercover officer. The reggae superstar has claimed he was entrapped by a confidential informant.
Banton 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, and using a communication facility in the commission of an act constituting a felony.
After the court adjournment yesterday, Markus said Buju's Grammy success on Sunday, when he won the best Reggae Album category, "does not have any bearing on the case but I do think it shows how this man believes in his music."
"This is what his life is about, that is what his whole life is devoted to. He is not a drug dealer, he is not about drugs. He is about making music and it is beautiful music and that is why he is so thankful that his fans appreciate him," Markus added.
In a brief statement to the media, Banton expressed gratitude for the support he has received en route to winning the Grammy. He also said once the jury pays attention to the facts, he will be a free man.
"I would like to thank all my fans who voted for me and I also want to thank the Lord God for giving me a good jury and all I hope and ask is that they listen to the entire case and hear the fact," said Buju.









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