Rabidly anti-gay "murder music" superstar Buju Banton is asking for leniency ahead of his sentencing hearing scheduled for next week. The reggae singer was convicted in February on three federal drug conspiracy charges.
Sentencing has been scheduled for June 23 in a Tampa federa court. "Banton's attorney is expected to argue that the mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years is excessive in this case," reports the AP. The defense team is submitting letters requesting leniency from friends, family and celebrities—including actor Danny Glover, adds KABC.
In court documents filed Thursday, Banton's attorney David Markus said a 15-year-sentence is "way more than necessary" in Banton's case. Markus contends that Banton's limited participation in the drug deal, his work with charities in Jamaica and his otherwise clean record entitle the singer to a reduced sentence. The documents include letters of support for Banton from actor Danny Glover, reggae singer Stephen Marley and Atlanta Hawks basketball player Etan Thomas. Banton is also seeking an acquittal and a new trial.
Despite video and audio surveillance of Banton arranging the cocaine deal and sampling the product—and recorded blaming his financial problems on gay activists— the reggae star maintains that he was "set up."
In recent years, gay activists have called attention to Banton's lyrics and other so-called "murder music" which incites violence against gays. Banton's recent North American and European tour dates have met with protests, demonstrations and cancellations. In October 2009, San Francisco-based LGBT activists met with Banton and afterwards the reggae singer's anti-gay rhetoric appeared even more hardened: "This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs, 'There is no end to the war between me and faggot'."
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