The hotly-anticipated trial of the rapper Young Thug is underway in a courtroom in Atlanta, Georgia, following almost a year of delays.
In May 2022, Young Thug, real name Jeffery Williams, was arrested and charged in a sprawling RICO indictment along with 27 other defendants.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis – who is using the same law to prosecute Donald Trump in his Georgia election interference case – accused the suspects of being part of a criminal street gang named YSL or “Young Slime Life.”
According to prosecutors, the gang is responsible for multiple violent crimes, including murders, shootings, carjackings and racketeering.
Young Thug denies the accusations and insists YSL is simply his record label – Young Stoner Life.
The trial has been undoubtedly rocky. The start of the trial’s third week gave no reprieve; the court was immediately asked to recess due to an undisclosed “medical issue” of “one of the participants,” the judge said.
Last week, drama erupted in the courtroom when a juror informed the judge that she saw herself on a livestream. Judge Glanville then suggested the jurors stay off of social media throughout the trial.
There was a medical issue “with one of the participants,” the judge said, so he called for a recess for the day. The attorneys had convened with the judge before the jury was called in.
Judge Glanville said he suspects a 9am start time tomorrow.
Kelly Rissman11 December 2023 15:10
A video on social media is circulating that appears to show Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, at Art Basel in Miami playing a song by him and Ty Dolla $ign — that features Young Thug, according to HipHopDx.
Kelly Rissman11 December 2023 14:45
YSL is Young Thug’s own record label – Young Slime Life. Artists on his record label are considered part of the “Slime Family,” and a compilation album, “Slime Language 2,” rose to number one on the US charts in April 2021.
Its artists include Gunna and Lil Keed, though several contemporary artists, including Future, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, Lil Baby, and Travis Scott have also expressed allegiance to YSL without being contractually signed.
However, according to prosecutors, YSL is actually a “criminal street gang”, which started out in the Cleveland Avenue area of Atlanta and claims affiliation to the national Bloods gang.
According to a sprawling 88-page indictment, the members of YSL use “a variety of identifiers including colours, clothing, tattoos, and hand signs” to show their allegiance to the group.
The most predominant colours used by members of YSL are red for Bloods and green for Slime.
Defence attorneys meanwhile insist that YSL is just a music label.
Kelly Rissman11 December 2023 14:15
Revisiting the ‘terroristic threats’ allegation
In July 2015, Rapper Young Thug was arrested by the US Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force on an outstanding warrant for “terroristic threats.”
The 22-year-old — whose government name is Jeffery Lamar Williams — was arrested in Sandy Springs, Georgia without incident, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
Williams allegedly threatened to shoot a mall security guard in the face after he was asked to leave the Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody, Georgia on 7 July.
A witness, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Complex that “Thugga” and his entourage were riding around the shopping center on two-wheel Hovertrax. When the crew attempted to leave, a security guard allegedly told them not to return with the Hovertrax. (The rapper previously showed off the segways on his Instagram account.)
The witness said that the rapper became defensive and threatened to sue the security guard.
Kelly Rissman8 December 2023 23:00
When Mr May, a security officer, was testifying about what Mr Williams allegedly said to him on 7 July, 2015 — that the rapper would “shoot [May] in the face” — Mr Williams grabbed his plastic water bottle filled with a dark-coloured liquid and sipped it.
At the same time, his attorney, Mr Steel, appeared to let out a deep breath.
Mr Williams is accused of committing “terroristic threats” at the Perimeter Mall in July 2015, according to the indictment.
Kelly Rissman8 December 2023 22:00
Christopher May is on the stand, describing an event that led prosecutors to accuse Mr Williams of “terroristic threats.”
Kelly Rissman8 December 2023 21:36
Prosecution is breezing through witnesses
- Former APD officer Christopher Collins testified about an arrest after he found a gun, oxycodone and marijuana.
- Mary Katherine Karpf testified about the oxycodone pills found; she works for the GBI at the state crime lab.
- Douglas Evans, who is a forensic examiner, also testified.
The court will take a 15-minute recess before the next witness is called.
Kelly Rissman8 December 2023 20:06
Christopher Collins takes the stand
Mr Collins is a former APD officer. He testified about an incident taking place in July 2015.
Trontavious Stephens’ eyes were “glossed over, super red,” suggesting “impairment,” the officer testified. Mr Stephens “smashed a digital scale,” acting frustrated, Mr Collins added.
He said the car in which Mr Stephens and two others were riding contained marijuana and four pills of oxycodone. He also found a 9mm Taurus gun.
He then arrested Mr Stephens and another person in his car.
Kelly Rissman8 December 2023 19:10
WATCH: YSL RICO Trial Day 8 recap
Young Thug, YSL RICO Trial Day 8 recap
Kelly Rissman8 December 2023 17:48
The Young Thug trial is expected to resume at 1pm today after taking a half day yesterday due to unrelated court business, the judge said.
The prosecution has called up a series of witnesses over this week and last, many of whom were law enforcement officers while others were victims of crimes that defendants have been accused of committing.
Prosecutors are expected to call up five more witnesses today, time allowing.
According to 11 Alive, the prosecution has 737 people listed on their witness list; the outlet noted that not every witness is guaranteed to ultimately testify.
Kelly Rissman8 December 2023 17:00