The jury selection for the Young Thug trial began on Wednesday (Jan. 4) in Atlanta. The rapper is on trial for a plethora of gang-related charges in a grand jury indictment held in Fulton County Georgia.
Young Thug, born Jeffrey Williams, was arrested in May and was first charged with one count each violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, along with involvement in criminal street gang activity. Thugger was later charged with three additional counts of violation against the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, another count of involvement in criminal street gang activity, and possession of a firearm while committing a felony. “Mr. Williams has committed no crime whatsoever. We will fight this case ethically, legally, and zealously. Mr. Williams will be cleared.” Said his attorney Brian Steel to ABC News.
The first group of jurors was given instructions by Judge Ural Glanville, the presiding judge of the case, and was read the 65-count indictment. Circumstances for a juror to be excused from the trial include financial or medical issues and undue hardship. The second and third groups of jurors will be in court on Thursday, January 5th, and Friday, January 6th.
Young Slime Life (YSL) was founded by Young Thug in 2012 and “claims affiliation with the national Bloods gang,” which involves 28 individuals who have been named in the indictment with Thug being one of them. YSL is also an acronym for “Young Stoner Life,” his label, but it was not named in the indictment. 14 of the 28 members who will be tried with the YSL head honcho appeared in court along with their attorneys on Wednesday.
Another well-known YSL artist Gunna, Sergio Kitchens, was amongst the 28 individuals indicted and charged with one count of conspiring to violate Georgia’s RICO act. However, the 29-year-old will not be tried in this case because he was one of the eight defendants to take a plea deal. The “Pushin P” rapper was released in December 2022 after pleading guilty in an Alford plea. His attorney, Steve Sadow, provided ABC News with a personal statement written by kitchen saying, “An Alford plea in my case is the entry of a guilty plea to the one charged against me, which is in my best interest, while at the same time maintaining my innocence toward the same charge.” The beloved rapper confirmed that he will not testify against Young Thug in the trial. Other rappers that could possibly be called to testify include T.I., Rich Homie Quan, and Lil Wayne.
This case has ignited a national movement to “Protect Black Art” due to the use of their lyrics as part of the evidence in the indictment. Attorney Steel filed a motion for lyrics not to be used in the case because the practice is “racist and discriminatory” and would also create bias and prejudice against Young Thug. “Numerous gang member defendants have released songs and/or music videos in which they describe their own and YSL’s criminal activities,” the prosecutors argued in the motion obtained by ABC News.
The hearing on the use of lyrics has not been rescheduled and the judge will be reading the lyrics to the jurors.