Trial again delayed for reggae singer Buju Banton

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Trial again delayed for reggae singer Buju Banton
May 28, 2010

TAMPA – A federal judge again has changed the trial date for Grammy-nominated reggae singer Buju Banton without giving a reason.

Banton’s trial on drug charges originally was scheduled for April 19, the date Banton requested. But 11 days before the trial was set to start, U.S. District Judge James Moody moved it to June 21.

The defense objected, citing the cost of rearranging travel for witnesses and noting that Banton would be held in jail longer.

Moody overruled the objections.

A notice was posted today that the case has been moved to the September trial calendar. A trial date will be set at a status conference in August.

Banton’s attorney, David Oscar Markus, has again filed an objection on the same grounds, saying the change violates the federal Speedy Trial Act.

The law generally requires that a criminal defendant’s trial start within 70 days after he is charged or makes an initial appearance, whichever is later.

Banton was arrested Dec. 10 in Miami, had his initial appearance the next day and was indicted Dec. 15. The defense motion says the speedy trial requirement already would have been violated with the June trial date.

Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, has been jailed since his arrest. He and two codefendants are accused of participating in a cocaine deal in Sarasota.

Banton claims he was entrapped.

By ELAINE SILVESTRINI | The Tampa Tribune


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