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Informant appears to give conflicting evidence in Buju Banton's trial{HeadLines}

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter in Tampa, Florida

Buju Banton's trial today in Tampa Florida continued with Alexander Johnson, the informant called by the US government to testify on its behalf, appearing to give contradicting evidence on the stand.

Only hours after telling prosecutor Jim Preston that it was Buju who brought up the conversation about cocaine trafficking while on a flight back from Madrid, Spain in July, 2009, Johnson under cross examination from the Jamaican's attorney David Oscar Markus changed his story.

During examination from Jim Preston this morning, Johnson said Buju brought up the issue of cocaine when he found out that he was a Colombian.

Later this evening however, he said he was the one who told Buju that he knew a Jamaican who has been involved in drag trafficking, and Buju said the man was a snitch.

"He wanted to talk about cocaine so I allowed him," Johnson said.

The trial has been adjourned until tomorrow.

Today,Buju painted himself as a broke desperate man who was in need of money in audio recordings played at his trial.

In audio recordings played in court, Banton, real name Mark Myrie, is heard thanking Colombian drug baron turned United States informant Alexander Johnson for an opportunity to make some money.

"You have given me the opportunity to make myself again," Buju said to Johnson.

He complained to the informant the he did not make any money on his last tour and that gay-rights organisaton Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation(GLAAD) "are trying to run me under."

The conversation took place while Johnson and Buju were in a vehicle driving to a police undercover warehouse where cocaine was hidden.

Johnson claimed Buju introduced him to Ian Thomas earlier that day as a man who is involved in the drug trade, and could locate people who are willing to buy.

That conversation was not recorded as Johnson said he had left his recording device in his car.

The jury heard that Johnson later retrieved the recording device and put it in his shirt pocket.

He then captured recordings of Buju saying Johnson has been his friend since he was 19 and that were it not for him, no food would have been in his house.

Buju is facing charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm during the course of a drug trafficking crime, attempting to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and using a communication facility in the commission of an act constituting a felony.


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