Buju could face more charges at new trial, says lawyer

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When Buju Banton is retried in a United States federal court next month, he could be faced with four counts of cocaine and gun charges instead of the two for which he was tried last September.
In an attempt to increase the likelihood of a conviction, Prosecutor James Preston secured a new grand jury indictment late last year, listing three counts of cocaine-related charges against the four-time Grammy nominated reggae artiste. The sole weapon charge remains.
But Banton’s legal team, led by David Oscar Markus, is fighting the new indictment on the grounds that it is not permissible for new charges to be brought on old information and that the weapon charge was a violation of the Fifth Amendment.
“The chief danger raised by a multiplicitous indictment is the possibility that the defendant will receive more than one sentence for a single offence,” Markus said, referring to the case of the United States v Swaim, in his application seeking to strike out the new indictment.
An indictment is multiplicitous if it charges a single offence in more than one count.
The artiste was tried last September on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking offence. However, the 12-member panel of jurors was unable to reach a verdict following three days of deliberations. The trial lasted a week in the Sam M Gibbons Federal Court in Tampa, Florida.
But should the new indictment stand, Banton will be tried for 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 the wires to facilitate a drug trafficking offense.
Both sides are now awaiting a ruling from the court on the matter, the Observer has reported.

 

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