Incarcerated deejay Buju Banton may be back in the streets next week, according to his lawyer, David Oscar Markus.
According to a report carried in The Tampa Tribune yesterday, the reggae singer may be out of jail by next week after a federal judge denied a prosecution appeal over the musician’s bail.
Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, has been behind bars since his arrest in December on federal drug-trafficking charges. After a jury was deadlocked in September, a new trial date is set for February.
The Tampa Tribune quoted Markus as saying, “We are hopeful he will be able to sleep in his own bed by the end of next week. The next step is posting the bond. Then we will address the immigration issues.”
Immigration authorities have placed a detainer on the singer, so if he is released from jail in the criminal case, an immigration judge will then determine whether to release him.
Last week, United States Magistrate Anthony Porcelli ruled that Banton could be released under stringent conditions. However, he stayed his ruling to allow the prosecution to appeal to United States District Judge James Moody, who denied the appeal without comment.
Under the terms of Banton’s bond, he must post US$300,000 worth of equity in the South Florida home of his friend reggae star Stephen Marley, son of icon Bob Marley. Banton must also hire a private security detail to guard him so he doesn’t flee.
Banton was required to sign an extradition waiver, ensuring his return if he flees the country, and will have to wear an electronic monitoring device.
The prosecution alleges Banton is a drug trafficker who tried to enter into a deal with an informant to finance the purchase and sale of cocaine. The defence maintains the singer was set up by the informant.
‘We are hopeful he will be able to sleep in his own bed by the end of next week. ‘