Apr 23, 2024 - News

Tensions rise in Young Thug's YSL RICO trial

Judge Ural Glanville is seen during the ongoing YSL gang and racketeering trial at Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta on Wednesday, January 3, 2024. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Judge Ural Glanville during the YSL trial at Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta in January. Photo: Arvin Temkar/AJC

The world is watching frustrations rise among the key figures in Georgia's longest trial ever, centering on defendant and Grammy-winning Atlanta rapper Young Thug.

Why it matters: The trial may reshape rap and racketeering cases as Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis accuses Jeffery Williams (Young Thug) of using his Young Slime Life music group to conceal several crimes, including murder, robberies, assaults, and drug dealing.

Catch up quick: Williams and 27 others in 2022 were arrested in citywide raids, but only six people are still on trial after plea deals and severances. Williams says YSL is just a music label.

  • But an 88-page indictment alleges YSL is a Bloods-affiliated gang that promotes crime in music and social media.

State of play: Superior Court Chief Judge Ural Glanville threatened to hold court on weekends because prosecutors still have more than 90 witnesses to call, the AJC reports.

  • Glanville admonished the attorneys last Wednesday over the case's pace. Prosecutor Adriane Love even shouted at Glanville for not resolving an evidence issue sooner.
  • A week earlier, Glanville denied efforts from Williams' attorneys to disqualify Love from the case, the AJC reports. Glanville also denied efforts to prohibit rap songs and videos from being used in court.

The latest: Prosecutors yesterday played recordings of Georgia prison inmate DeAngelo White, who said alleged YSL co-founder Walter "DK" Murphy was involved in a shooting targeting him in 2015. White testified weeks ago that he had nothing to do with the case.

  • Murphy took the stand and said YSL became a gang. He pled guilty in the case in 2022, and testifying "as it may become necessary" was a condition of his probation.
  • Murphy was asked about different crimes and if Williams was involved in them. Murphy said Williams never asked him to commit crimes, and Murphy contradicted much of the case against Williams, WSB-TV reports.

The intrigue: Former Atlanta police investigator Lakea Gaither testified she disliked responding to 911 calls, so she avoided them and patrolled "high-crime areas" to possibly arrest people.

Fun fact: Williams smiled in court last Thursday when he saw fellow Atlanta rapper Quavo from the group Migos in court to support him. They previously made songs together.

  • Chance the Rapper posted on Instagram last week that he wishes Williams was free amid "the legal errors, jury misconduct and conflicts of interest by the state."
  • Meanwhile, Williams also recently went viral for his gestures in court.

What we're watching: Prosecutors could still call rappers YFN Lucci, Birdman, and Rich Homie Quan to testify.

  • Prosecutors are no longer planning to summon Lil Wayne, Gunna, and Unfoonk. Gunna and Unfoonk — Williams' brother — took plea deals for probation. But Unfoonk is behind bars again for violating his deal.

What's next: The trial will resume Tuesday at 10am.

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