Although several notable figures stepped up to plead for leniency for reggae star Buju Banton- real name Mark Myrie- the singer was sentenced to ten years in federal prison on drug chargea in a Florida courtroom today.
Among those who appealed on 37-year-old Banton’s behalf were family members, prominent athletes and even actor Danny Glover:
Dozens of letters to U.S. District Judge James S. Moody are included in the court file for the 37-year-old recording artist, whose given name is Mark Myrie. Several of his 15 children wrote, as did a former Jamaican government official, an NBA player, other reggae artists and actor Danny Glover, who called Banton a “role model, philanthropist and spiritual leader in the community.”
“Your honor, Mark Myrie is not a drug dealer,” Glover wrote. “Society would not benefit from his incarceration.”
According to Billboard, the case hinged largely on the singer’s intent to participate in potential drug deals, conspiring with a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) informant- who received a $50,000 payout in the case. Banton’s first trial in the case was declared a mistrial due to a deadlocked jury. The singer was convicted in February on counts of “conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking offense.”