A jury will begin deliberating today in the cocaine trial of reggae superstar Buju Banton. Banton is accused of conspiring with two men to set up a drug deal in December 2009.
Attorneys for Banton and the US Government finished their closing arguments on Thursday afternoon with Assistant U.S. Attorney James Preston telling the jury that Banton presented himself as a broker of drug deals to an informant.
The prosecution has built their case on a series of audio and videotapes of meetings and phone calls involving Banton. In one videotaped meeting, Banton can be seen tasting cocaine in a warehouse, but he was not present at the drug deal.
The prosecution also acknowledges that Banton had no financial interest in the deal at all and did not stand to profit from it. Banton’s defense attorney, David Markus, has painted his client as a “big talker” who was just trying to impress the informant.
Banton faces charges 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 offense; and using the wires to facilitate a drug trafficking offense. He could face life in prison if convicted of all charges.
Buju’s was previously tried on this case in 2010, but a mistrial was declared.