A Florida judge declared a mistrial for Jamaican reggae artist Buju Banton on Monday (September 27), who was on trial for conspiring to buy cocaine from an undercover police officer last year.
The Associated Press reports that U.S. District Judge James Moody came to the decision after a 12-person jury could not reach a verdict. The jurors said earlier that they were having trouble reaching a verdict, and Moody directed them to keep trying.
Banton’s attorney has requested that Moody release Banton on bond. The singer has been held without bond since his December 10 arrest.
Banton has been charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine, and aiding two others in possessing a firearm during the course of cocaine distribution. If convicted, he could get life in prison.
“We were hoping to get a good verdict today. That said, twelve jurors did not believe Buju did it,” said the singer’s attorney, David Markus. “The government tried to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and they did not do it.”
Banton, who has worked with artists such as Bussta Rhymes, Fat Joe and Ice Cube, claims that he spoke to the undercover officer about cocaine only to impress him, as the man claimed to have music industry connections.
Buju Banton’s new album, Before The Dawn, hits stores today (September 28). “It speaks volumes about what’s going on now in Buju’s life,” explains his manager, Tracii McGregor. “Buju has said his body is locked away, but Buju is with us, he lives through his music.”