Buju Banton Gives Thanks For All The Birthday Wishes

Jamaican music icon Buju Banton gives thanks to everyone who sent cards wishing him a happy birthday. The GRAMMY-winning Reggae artist turned 39 years old on Sunday, July 15th. In addition to the hundreds of cards and letters he received from friends, family and fans, selectors paid tribute by playing blocks of Buju’s music on radio stations across the globe.

“To all who remembered me on this day, those who took the time to send me a card and those who played my music, especially all the radio DJs and personalities who keep the fire burning,” says Buju, “I thank you for sending strength through these times… Jah live.”

Buju also sends a special shout out to all the folks who participated in the Free Buju Birthday Sweepstakes and Trivia Contest held last week by the good folks at Zion Rootswear. The winners will receive an official Buju Banton gift pack featuring an official Free Buju T-Shirt and button, a Buju Banton album, 8×10 photo, poster and stickers, all courtesy of Zion and Gargamel Music.

Official Buju Banton merchandise is available at ZionRootswear.com. For those of you outside the United States, international orders are now being processed directly through customer service: cs@zionrootswear.com.

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Never Give Up The Fight… Attorneys For Banton File Motion For New Trial

By now you’ve all heard how the United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit basically disregarded the Appeal filed on behalf of Grammy-winning Reggae music icon, Buju Banton, and upheld his controversial conviction for “conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute” and “using the wires to facilitate a drug trafficking offense.”

Adding insult to injury, the overwhelmingly conservative three judge panel led by Chief Justice Joel Fredrick Dubina (a George H. W. Bush appointee), alongside  Circuit Judge Susan Harrell Black (another George H. W. Bush appointee) and Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus (a default Bill Clinton appointee), also reversed trial judge James Moody Jr.‘s common sense decision to throw out a third conviction at Buju’s sentencing hearing last summer: “knowing and intentionally possessing a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking offense,” which carries an additional 5 year penalty.

It clearly didn’t matter much to Dubina, Black or Marcus that Buju had no priors and has never been involved in the drug trade. Nor did it matter that he did not participate in any negotiations nor was he present at the deal that actually did go down between well-paid government snitch Alexander Johnson and former co-defendants James Mack and Ian Thomas.

As defense attorney David Oscar Markus recently pointed out “a good man is in jail for talking a big game.” He’s also paying the price for simply fighting the powers that be. You may recall that after the first trial eneded in a mistrial, prosecutor James Preston Jr., venemously amended the original indictment, tweaking the gun charge and adding two additional charges, in his attempt to make something stick… And it worked. All this for a man who has spent the last 20 years of his life making incredibly uplifting music for his legion of loyal fans around the world. War on drugs? We think not… This is a war on Buju Banton.

Bouncing back from the latest blow to their client, late yesterday afternoon, the legal team for Banton filed a Renewed Motion For A New Trial with the district Court in Tampa. The 27-page motion duly requests a new trial on all counts, or alternately, a new trial on the gun count only. To be clear, if no new trial is granted by Judge Moody, Buju will automatically be sentenced to an additional 5 years on top to the 10 he is currently serving. Team Banton has nothing to lose and everything to gain by filing this latest motion and we pray that the request is granted.

In the meantime, fans can take solace in knowing that Buju is indeed holding firm despite the loss of the appeal and the harrowing prospect of doing even more time. He is reading avidly, has some access to a guitar (there are 2 or 3 in the facility) and is writing new songs, plus he is even teaching a class at FCI Miami, where he is presently being housed. We encourage you to keep him in your prayers, continue writing those letters of encouragement, and, if you should feel so inclined, drop a little something on his commissary.

MARK ANTHONY MYRIE – 86700-004

FCI MIAMI

FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION

P.O. BOX 779800

MIAMI, FL 33177

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Buju Banton Nominated For Pair Of 2012 International Reggae And World Music Awards (IRAWMA)

Buju Nominated For Int'l Reggae @ World Music Awards

The Gargamel Music family is pleased to announce that Grammy-winning Reggae superstar Buju Banton has just nabbed a pair of nominations for the 31st annual International Reggae And World Music Awards (IRAWMA). The 2012 ceremony will take place July 5th in Chicago.

Banton is nominated in the Best Song category for his sizzling 2011 collabo “Jah Army” with Stephen and Damian Marley. The second nomination is for Concert Of The Year for his historic Before the Dawn Concert that was held in Miami in January of 2011.

“We again congratulate Buju Banton on his nominations in the 31st IRAWMA,” says Ephraim Martin of Martin’s International, the producers of the long running event. “Buju was and is still a messenger for the people in his own right. History shows and tells us, that just about all great leaders, messengers and freedom fighters, who ended up in jail or prison at some point, returned to be  better leaders.”

Martin adds, “Buju, we encourage you to stay strong and not to be discouraged. The unknown reason(s) you are where you are will be revealed to the world in a powerful manner, in the years to come!” Mr. Martin invites fans to watch rare footage of Buju Banton performing a medley of his hits at the 13th IRAWMA nearly twenty years ago:
***

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Banton Legal Team Blasts Back In Final Appeal Brief

Lawyers for Jamaican music icon, Buju Banton, recently filed a final brief in response to the government’s response to their appeal as well as the government’s own appeal of Judge James Moody‘s decision to throw out the gun charges during sentencing in Banton’s controversial criminal case. For a quick overview of the case and these latest arguments, check out the article posted by writer Chris Sweeney, who also penned the recent Miami New Times cover story on Buju Banton. Or feel free to read the entire Reply Brief of the Appellant and Response Brief of the Cross Appellee. It goes without saying that David Oscar Markus and his team at Markus & Markus Law left no stone unturned.

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Miami New Times Cover Story Proclaims Buju Banton’s Innocence

Buju Banton Is Innocent

Once again, Jamaican music icon, Buju Banton, is featured on the cover of this week’s Miami New Times. The story, “Buju Banton Is Innocent,” penned by staff writer Chris Sweeney, details the  events leading up to the Reggae star’s arrest, and duly picks apart the government’s case, which hinged on the testimony of career criminal, Alexander Johnson.

A convicted drug trafficker turned government informant, Johnson worked vigorously for months to set Buju up, bringing his potential “big catch” to the attention of pals at the DEA and overzealous prosecutor, Assistant US Attorney James C. Preston, Jr. who he has been working hand-in-hand with for the last 10 years.

Thoroughly researched and incredibly well written, this compelling feature is the first to paint a fuller picture of Buju’s life’s work and the seedy circumstances surrounding the government’s case. Sweeney writes:

“The saga sheds light on how far the government will go and how dirty it will play to win the few big battles left in the long-ago failed War on Drugs. Now, while one of the most successful and controversial Jamaican artists — a man who won a Grammy for best reggae album a year ago — sits in a Miami penitentiary, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is considering whether unconstitutional tactics were used to nail a man who had no known criminal record.”

A sidebar piece in the Broward-Palm Beach New Times takes a closer look at government snitch Johnson, and breaks down the millions of dollars he’s made off the backs of US taxpayers, while working as a confidential informant. Sweeney writes:

“But Johnson isn’t a U.S. citizen, and he’ll never be one due to his felony-laden criminal record. Yet he has managed to earn nearly $3.5 million of taxpayer money while working as a confidential informant. He’s a persistent and crafty snitch who used booze and claims of music industry contacts to lure Buju, a Grammy-winning reggae artist, into environments he may otherwise have avoided.” 

The entire story is available online now. Hard copies will begin circulating in South Florida on Wednesday evening. Big respect to Chris Sweeney and The Miami New Times for making sure the full regarding this case is told.

!!FREE BUJU!!

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Buju Banton Graces Cover Of French Magazine

Buju Got Reggae Vibes

The Gargamel Music Family is pleased to share that Jamaican music icon, Buju Banton, is featured on the cover of the popular French magazine, Reggae Vibes, available on European newsstands now. The accompanying story, written by veteran UK journalist, John Masouri, takes an in-depth look at the controversial case that ultimately landed the beloved Reggae star in a federal penitentiary, and more importantly, pays homage to the artist’s 20+ year career in music that has touched the lives of so many people around the world.

“I chose to do a cover with Buju to tell the truth about him, about his musical career, and about his trial,” explains the magazine’s long time editor, Gilbert Pytel. “Buju is one of the best Reggae artists in the world. People should not forget this! The Reggae massive in France waits for his comeback.”

Back in the United States, Buju is also featured in Hip-Hop Weekly‘s new special issue, “Hip-Hop Behind Bars.” The piece brings readers up to speed on the case and impending appeal, which was filed by the artist’s attorneys late last year.

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Gargamel Focused On Freedom In 2012

We Pray For Freedom In 2012

Greetings in the name of the Most High! As we mark the end of 2011, Buju Banton and the entire Gargamel family would like to take a moment to thank the fans around the world for your unwavering support during these difficult times. Indeed, it is not an easy road, but it helps to know that we are not walking it alone.

Buju has been receiving all of  your correspondence and apologizes for not being able to answer every single letter personally. Keep them coming, still, as they are a true source of upliftment in the midst of so much uncertainty.

While we patiently await a final ruling on Buju’s case from the United States Court of Appeals, Team Gargamel remains hopeful, prayerful and focused on freedom… We encourage you to do the same.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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