The defence had requested that James Mack, Buju's former co-accused, give evidence for him, but Mack, fearful that he might jeopardise his chances of getting a lighter sentence, opted not to.
American law allows a witness to refuse to testify under oath on the ground that the answers could be used as evidence by prosecutors seeking to convict the witness for a criminal offence Mack was arrested in December 2009 the same day that Buju, whose given name is Mark Myrie, was arrested and slapped with cocaine charges.
He recently copped a plead deal for a lighter sentence. Also arrested along with Mack in a sting operation was Ian Thomas, who also copped a plea deal. Both men will be sentenced in November.
Reacting to the development, Buju's lawyer David Markus expressed some disappointment as he spoke with the Observer.
"He would have helped," Markus said.
Meanwhile, Markus continued his grilling of Alexander Johnson, the prosecution's main witness.
Markus, with his line of questioning painted a picture of a man who was in financial debt and was pushing to entrap Buju because of the money he stood to earn from the case, if the entertainer was arrested.
The court was told that Johnson was behind on his credit card bills, mortgage payment and owed the US government over $100,000 in taxes.
Markus pointed out from transcripts of Johnson's recorded conversations with Buju, that he was the one constantly bringing up talks of drugs and that the entertainer was not interested.
Johnson also said that he did not inform Buju that he was going to look at drugs on December 8 when the entertainer was caught on tape tasting the cocaine. He said the artiste was under the impression that he was going to see a sailboat he (Johnson) owned.
Buju was arrested at his home at Tamarac, South Florida hours after his former co-accused Thomas and Mack, were arrested during an alleged drug bust in an undercover operation at a warehouse in Sarasota, Florida in December last year.
All three were charged with conspiracy to possess more than five kilogrammes of cocaine with intent to distribute, while Mack was charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offence.
The drug charge carries a minimum sentence of 20 years to life in addition to a fine of up to US$4 million, while the firearm charge carries a sentence of five years to life and a fine of up to US$250,000.
Both Mack and Thomas, in their plea deals, have agreed to give evidence to assist the US Government in building a case against Banton, in exchange for lesser sentences.
“I was just talking crap. I’m not a drug dealer,” Banton admitted.
He said that he did not want to be outtalked by Johnson, and said Johnson seemed to be a nice person who he liked hanging out with.
Banton admitted also that he had made a false move by sampling cocaine in a warehouse in Tampa. He said he was unaware that he was going to see cocaine as Johnson told him that he was going to inspect a boat.
He said he was fascinated with boats and was very surprised when he saw cocaine."