Banton Battles Back
Thursday, March 4th proved to be a revelatory day for Team Banton, who appeared in US District Court in Tampa, Florida for two hearings. The first proceeding at 8:30am was handled by the judge who will actually be overseeing the trial, Judge James Moody. After conferring with the attorneys, Moody locked in the trial start date for Monday, April 19th.
The second proceeding, held before Magistrate Thomas Wilson
at 10:30am, focused on the series of motions filed last month by Banton’s criminal defense attorney, David Oscar Markus
, requesting additional information about the government snitch who set up Buju Banton
. According to Markus, the government has been slow to turn over documents, transcripts and other key information related to the case.
Here’s a few of the shocking details that were revealed about the still unnamed government snitch who set up the Reggae icon:
He transported over 2,000 kilos of cocaine and 3-4,000 kilos of marijuana between 1984 and 1993!
He was convicted in South Florida in 1993 of distributing cocaine in a case that brought a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years!
He has been paid 3.3 million dollars for helping law enforcement (DEA, Customs, FBI, Sarasota PDs) in numerous cases over several years!
He is a legal permanent resident of the United States from Colombia and was granted that immigration status only after law enforcement requested it!
He is paid on a contingency basis and looks to collect approximately $35,000 from the Banton case!
His credibility was called into question by one judge who doubted the truthfulness of his testimony in a case!
He is currently involved in a tax dispute with the IRS!
He has worked consistently with Assistant US Attorney James Preston, the prosecutor handling Banton’s case, for the last 10 years!
Markus argued in court that he needs more information to adequately cross-examine the government’s star witness, including specifics on the snitch’s criminal history, details of his tax case, transcripts from other cases he has testified in and a list of the amounts of money he has earned in each case. Assistant US Attorney Preston countered that his office already turned over any favorable information that might help the defense, as required by the court.
Nevertheless, Magistrate Wilson ordered the prosecution to provide the defense with a list of all the cases (w/ case numbers) the informant has testified in and any communications by criminal law officer or prosecutor asking for beneficial treatment in the informant’s tax case and immigration file. The prosecution has 14 days to turn over everything to Team Banton.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Mannion