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Convicted earlier this year, reggae artiste Buju Banton has begun to appeal his case.
Yesterday, Banton's legal team filed an appeal in the United States Court of Appeal for the 11th Circuit.
This comes several months after Buju Banton, real name Mark Myrie, was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offence and using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking offence. However, the presiding judge, James Moody, threw out a gun charge and later handed down a sentence of 10 years' imprisonment.
In an interview with The Gleaner's Power 106 News, David Oscar Markus said the appeal was filed on three grounds. He said Buju's innocence is still being raised. In addition, he is still stressing that the US Government sought to entrap Buju because his actions lacked a predisposition to participate in a drug conspiracy. Markus is also proposing that the judge made a mistake as a matter of law because "he was in custody for more than a year and that violated his speedy trial rate."
"We raised three arguments and we believe each of them is very strong and sufficient enough to warrant a dismissal of the case," Markus said in the interview.
Banton's lawyers have asked the Court of Appeal to grant an order for submissions to be made orally because they believe that this will give the court a better understanding of the multiple legal issues presented in the case.
Going into the appeal, Markus said he was confident.
"We are confident, we are very optimistic. The appellant process is a difficult process. We really believe in Buju's case and in his innocence and that's why we remain optimistic and positive," he said.
The lawyer says he speaks to Buju almost daily via email and on the phone.
"I saw him last week and he is in good spirit and very optimistic as well," he said.
And since being moved back to Miami after stints in Oklahoma and Texas, Markus said Buju has been feeling even better.
"He is much much better now. He is down here in Miami and he is close to his lawyer and he is close to his friends and family. It's a much better facility down here. It's very humane," he said.
Markus added that he is thankful for the help he received from the judge and the Jamaican consulate for helping to get Buju moved.
Meanwhile, he said Buju is still grateful for the support of his fans and well-wishers.
"He is also very thankful to all of the fans in Jamaica and for the Jamaican people who continue to support him and write him letters and really be positive for him. It's been helpful," Markus said