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Search on for possible jury misconduct in Buju's trial

Published:Saturday | January 5, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Buju Banton

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

ONE OF Buju Banton's trial attorneys has alleged that the actions of Terri Wright led to fellow jurors changing their minds and returned guilty verdicts for the Jamaican reggae superstar.

"The jury was 10-2 for not guilty until one juror committed serious misconduct. I'm thankful that judge Moody will make sure justice is served," David Oscar Markus, Buju's previous trial counsel, said yesterday.

US District judge James Moody yesterday ordered US Marshals to seize computers belonging to jury foreperson Wright to allow a defence expert to look for evidence of Internet research conducted during the trial.

Banton is serving a 10-year prison sentence for conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and using a telephone to facilitate a drug-trafficking offence.

The Grammy winner faces an additional five years on a related gun possession charge, but his resentencing hearing was postponed to investigate the report of juror misconduct.

Moody reportedly told lawyers during a telephone conference on Wednesday that he plans to subpoena more jurors and conduct another hearing into allegations that Wright violated his orders not to do outside research during the trial.

Wright and three other jurors were called to testify at a hearing before Moody last month.

Two of the other jurors testified that they had not heard anything about fellow jurors doing research during the trial. But one said she recalled a white woman juror saying she had researched the Pinkerton law.

Wright, a black woman, testified that she only researched Banton's music and the federal Pinkerton rule, which involves liability among conspirators for the actions of other conspirators.

There was no proof that Banton possessed a gun or was aware that a co-defendant did.

However, because of the Pinkerton rule, Banton was convicted of a weapons offence. Moody had set aside the gun charge, a ruling that was reversed by the appeal court.