by Jodee Brown
Embattled Dancehall/Reggae artist, Mark Myrie, more popularly known as Buju Banton may be forced to change his legal representation for a second time just days after a gun conviction against him was dismissed in a Florida courthouse.
The possible move comes as a result of Buju’s lead lawyer, Chokwe Lumumba being elected the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi earlier this month. With Lumumba set to begin his term on July 1, Buju’s co-counsel, Imhotep Alkebu-Lan conceded to the Jamaica Gleaner on Thursday that the singer will likely have to look for new representation, though no final decision has been made.
Prior to that decision, Buju will have to decide whether or not to appeal a federal judge’s decision not to grant the Grammy-winning entertainer a retrial in his drug case.
On Wednesday, Judge James Moody threw out a gun conviction against, which would have carried an additional five years on his ten-year prison term for drug-related convictions. Additionally, Judge Moody ordered the government to charge Terri Wright, a juror on Buju’s February 2011 drug trial, with criminal contempt after it was deemed she violated federal court orders by researching aspects of the singer’s case during the trial.
Buju Banton now has 14 days to appeal Moody’s decision not to grant a retrial while prosecutors have 30 days to appeal the dismissal of the gun conviction.
Last August, Buju dropped lead attorney, David Oscar Markus in favor of Lumumba weeks after a failed appeal to overturn his drug conviction, which led to the reinstatement of a gun charge initially tossed out in the February 2011 trial.