One of the world's biggest reggae stars, a Grammy award-winning artist from Jamaica with more number-one singles than legend Bob Marley, has been locked inside a U.S. prison for nearly a decade.
Buju Banton is set to be released in a matter of months, but the cocaine-trafficking case against him still infuriates his most ardent supporters, who believe he landed behind bars after being set-up and seduced by a U.S. government informant.
"He was entrapped. Just follow the case," one longtime fan, 55-year-old Alvin Walfall of Bowie, Maryland, said. "It was entrapment."
Walfall is one of nearly 5,000 people who signed onto a series of online petitions calling for Banton's freedom and questioning the case against him.
For years, U.S. officials demanded that a key piece of evidence — undercover video from Banton's last meeting with the informant — stay under seal, hidden from public view. But ABC News appealed to a federal judge, and the video has now been unsealed.
It offers the most complete account of how Banton, 44, ended up in a U.S. prison, convicted of two counts for his role in a conspiracy to sell cocaine.
But Banton has maintained his innocence, insisting he never intended to go through with a drug deal and was only guilty of "running my mouth."
Banton is a prolific dancehall artist, known around the world for his aggressively gruff voice and bursting stage manner, and his songs such as "Pull It Up" and "Bonafide Love" remain a staple on American radio like Sirius-XM.
In the past year alone, music megastars Rihanna and Sean Paul have openly expressed support for him.
"Today I went to check Buju Banton, the great legend," Sean Paul said in a video he posted online in October after visiting Banton at the McRae Correctional Institution in Georgia. "He's in great spirits."
Banton won his first and only Grammy on Valentine's Day 2011. Less than 18 hours later, he was inside a Tampa, Florida, courtroom for the start of the federal trial against him.
"This case is a true miscarriage of justice, and it still keeps me up at night," Banton's trial attorney, David Oscar Markus, told ABC News in an email. "There was NO evidence to support the jury’s verdict."