by Jodee Brown
The United States government has issued its first public response to the recent appeal made on behalf of international Reggae superstar, Mark Myrie, more popularly known as Buju Banton.
Buju Banton’s legal team, led by Florida-based attorney, David Oscar Markus filed an appeal, via a Georgia appellate court this past December; hoping that law enforcement officials would overturn his 10 year sentence on federal drug charges. Buju’s legal team cited the untrustworthy nature of renowned government informant, Alexander Johnson and a possible violation of the Speedy Trial Act, amongst other factorsas grounds for the case’s dismissal.
Now, the U.S. government has retorted to those claims; intimating that they have ample evidence supporting their case that Buju Banton organized a drug trafficking operation in December 2009. Filing a response to the aforementioned appeal on Friday, federal prosecutors insist that the Reggae superstar recorded conversations with Johnson, as well as video tapes showing Banton tasting cocaine in a Sarasota, FL warehouse prove that Buju “eagerly brokered” a drug deal involving a friend and several undercover agents.
Additionally, government officials are still pursuing a gun charge that was thrown out during the verdict announcements rendered in Buju’s case last February. The Dancehall/Reggae singjay was slapped with a charge of possessing an illegal firearm. Should the gun charge be reinstated, Buju could face an additional five years behind bars.
In response to the counter appeal, Markus ripped the U.S. government’s continued pursuit of punishment for his high-profile client; claiming this just adds to the thought that there’s a growing vendetta again Buju Banton.
Speaking to the press following Friday’s counter appeal, Markus said, “It still smacks of the same vindictiveness that we saw earlier. That’s what’s really troubling.”
“It’s so aggressive and it just continues with the piling on, trying to reinstate the gun charge, which there’s no evidence to support,” he added.
Buju’s legal team now has 30 days to respond to this counter appeal and a verdict on both appeals could take up to a year.