Trial draws to close

first_img Share Share Tweet NewsRegional Trial draws to close by: – February 17, 2011 Sharing is caring!center_img Share 39 Views   no discussions Caribbean 360 NewsBefore Buju took the stand yesterday, the court heard from two other Jamaican musicians, Stephen Marley and Gramps Morgan, who testified on their friend’s behalf.FLORIDA, United States, Thursday February 17, 2011 – Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton will today continue his testimony in his drug trial after more than four hours of intense grilling on the witness stand yesterday when he insisted that he was not a drug pusher.“I know it may look bad and it may sound bad, but I am not a drug dealer. Yes, I talked the talked, but I did not walk the walk,” Buju said.Since Monday, prosecutor James Preston has been trying to convince the jury that Buju, whose real name is Mark Myrie, is guilty of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine; attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offence; and using a communication facility to facilitate a drug-trafficking offence.The prosecution called several witnesses, including US government informant Alexander Johnson, and played video and audio recordings of Buju discussing cocaine and tasting the drug.“I feel ashamed of seeing myself and hearing myself,” Buju told the court. But he kept insisting that it was not as it appeared.Under cross-examination by Preston, who pressed him about why he spoke about dealing drugs if it was not something he really did, the entertainer said he was only “talking crap” and that Johnson was being impressive with his talk and he was “trying to impress too”.“You never told him that you did not want to do a drug deal?” the prosecutor asked during his grilling, to which Buju replied: “I did not tell him I wanted to do one either.”The Gammy-winning singer said if he really wanted to do a deal with Johnson, he would not have put off meeting with the man for five months.As for the video of him tasting the cocaine in a warehouse, the singer said he had been tricked. He testified that he thought he was going to see a boat at the warehouse and if he had known the cocaine would have been brought into the picture he would not have gone. Buju said when he got there and realised Johnson was serious about dealing drugs, he feared for his life and tried to play it cool.“I saw my family, my children, everything that I have worked hard for in the past 21 years flash before my face,” he said.Before Buju took the stand yesterday, the court heard from two other Jamaican musicians, Stephen Marley and Gramps Morgan, who testified on their friend’s behalf. They said they trusted him and did not know of him being a drug dealer.Judge James Moody, who’s presiding over the case, is to rule on whether the charges of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offence and using the wires to facilitate a drug trafficking offence should be dropped, following an application by defence attorney David Oscar Markus yesterday.Markus had asked that all the charges be dismissed because the prosecution did not present sufficient evidence to support them. The judge said he could not drop the conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine charges, but would consider Markus’ application on the other two.When Buju completes his testimony, closing arguments will be made by both the prosecution and defence before the jury begins deliberating on a verdict.Last time around, jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict, prompting a mistrial to be declared.last_img read more