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Buju Banton Gun Conviction Tossed Out

Reggae star was arrested in 2009

June 27, 2013 4:45 PM ET
Buju Banton
Buju Banton
Linda Nylind/Redferns

Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton's criminal gun charge issued in 2011 was tossed out by a Florida federal judge, who concluded that a juror had done independent research on the case during the trial, the Associated Press reports.

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The gun charge stems from Banton's 2009 arrest, during which he was also charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine. Caught telling a Drug Enforcement Administration informant that he could broker a drug deal, Banton later claimed he was just boasting; jurors, however, were persuaded by the informant's audio and video, which included a clip of the reggae singer sampling the wares. He's currently serving a 10-year sentence, though the gun charge would have added an additional five years.

As for the snooping juror, U.S. District Judge James Moody said that Terri Wright (who acted as foreman) should face a criminal contempt charge. Wright was reportedly looking into the federal Pinkerton rule, which Banton's gun charge hinged on, as it sets the parameters for whether one conspirator can be liable for the actions of another.

Having tossed out that verdict, Moody said the U.S. government could decide if they wanted to retry Banton on the gun charge.

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