Buju Banton Juror Terri Wright Won't Face Contempt Charges
Federal prosecutors won't be charging Buju Banton jury foreman Terri Wright with criminal contempt charges, even though a New Times report revealed that Wright admitted to misconduct.
Thanks to that New Times report, a federal judge in Tampa tossed out one of two convictions that sent Banton to prison in 2011.
According to the report, Wright conducted her own independent research into the case during the trial. That, according to standard jury rules, is not allowed.
In October of last year, Wright told New Times that she researched certain aspects of the Banton case to have a better grasp of the issues when deliberation came around.
In the interview, Wright said she looked into the Pinkerton rule used by prosecutors to tie Banton to a Luger semiautomatic handgun that was found on James Mack, a man that was arrested along with Banton in a sting. Cops had found that Mack had driven to Florida from Atlanta with $135,000 for cocaine.
Banton's legal team used the interview to file a motion for a new trial.
In June, U.S. District Judge James Moody said Wright should face charges for her misconduct.
During a hearing over the motion, Wright claimed New Times had misquoted her. She said that her research came after the trial, not during.
According to recent court documents, prosecutors say they plan to oppose Banton's latest appeal. They also say that they could not prosecute Wright while they opposed the appeal, and suggested that the court appoint another prosecutor to pursue charges against her.
Banton is currently serving a 10-year sentence for cocaine conspiracy and trafficking charges convictions stemming from his 2009 arrest.