US court grants new appeal hearing for Buju Banton

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) -- A lawyer for convicted Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton said Tuesday that a U.S. federal appellate court agreed to a hearing on his latest appeal.

The Grammy-winning singer is serving a 10-year sentence for convictions on cocaine conspiracy and trafficking charges stemming from a 2009 arrest that followed a sting operation. He was convicted in 2011 after his first trial in 2010 ended with jurors deadlocked.

In an email, attorney Charles Ogletree said the full 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta had agreed to hear oral arguments on the case.

"Mr. Buju Banton was pleased to learn that the 11th Circuit granted a new hearing of his appeal. We too are looking forward to the appellate argument," said Ogletree, a Harvard University law professor who took over Banton's case in February.

In 2012, a panel of the appellate court upheld Banton's convictions. His former defense lawyer had argued that a government informant improperly entrapped the singer.

It's not clear when the hearing will take place.

The husky-voiced Rastafarian singer, whose real name is Mark Myrie, has long been a prominent figure with the reggae-rap hybrid of dancehall reggae music and traditional reggae.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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