Grammy Award-winning anti-gay "murder music" superstar Buju Banton wants to be released on bond while he appeals his conviction of federal drug conspiracy charges. Attorneys claim the Jamaican national is not a flight risk because he is too famous, reports The Associated Press.
Banton's attorney, David Markus, filed a motion Tuesday in Tampa federal court saying the singer's celebrity makes it impossible for him to flee and hide. Banton, whose given name is Mark Myrie, also has already surrendered his passport and he was electronically monitored when he was released on bond in November.
Banton was taken back into custody last month after a jury convicted him of two drug charges and one gun charge. Markus says the singer faces at least 15 years in prison. Markus also asked the court for a new trial. Banton's sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.
The reggae superstar was convicted last month in a Tampa federal court on three drug conspiracy charges. The trial began on February 14, only one day after winning the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. A previous jury in September 2010 had been deadlocked.
The court heard audio recordings of conversations between Banton and a federal informant arranging a cocaine deal in 2009. Banton blamed his financial problems on gay activists—specifically GLAAD—for pressuring sponsors and venues to drop him and other artists who incite violence against gays.
Predictably, some news coverage in Jamaica has also attempted to link Banton's legal problems to his anti-gay views.
You May Have Missed...
Banton Found Guilty in Federal Drug Case
Recordings: Banton Blames Gay Activists for $ Problems
Banton Wins Grammy, Faces Drug Trial Today
First Court Appearance for "Murder Music" Singer Buju Banton
Bail Denied for Anti-Gay Reggae Singer Buju Banton
Anti-Gay Singer Buju Banton Jailed on Drug Conspiracy Charges
Uganda: Pepsi Sponsors "Murder Music" Singer Beenie Man
Financial Probs for Anti-Gay Bounty Killer
iTunes Canada Pulls Anti-Gay "Murder Music"
Beenie Man and Buju Banton Cancelled