Lawyers for Gunna asked a Georgia judge on Wednesday (May 25) to reconsider keeping the rapper in jail until trial, saying he’s living in “intolerable conditions” and that prosecutors didn’t offer a “shred of evidence” to support the idea that he might threaten witnesses.
Days after Judge Ural Glanville denied bond to Gunna (real name Sergio Kitchens) at a Monday (May 23) hearing in which prosecutors warned that the rapper might intimidate informants if released, the rapper’s lawyers told the judge that those allegations needed to be backed up by actual evidence.
“The prosecutor could not explain how any alleged ‘threats’ or intimidation were linked to Kitchens,” Gunna’s lawyer Steve Sadow wrote. “The prosecutor even conceded that he was not sure if there was any information that linked Kitchens to threats or intimidation. Instead, he merely assured the Court that the ‘investigation continues.’”
The new filing, authored by Sadow and a team of attorneys at the law firm Garland, Samuel & Loeb, said the problem is exacerbated because a trial is not scheduled until January 2023 – meaning the denial of bond means that Gunna is going to be locked in prison for at least another 7 months.
“It is a miscarriage of justice that Kitchens languishes in intolerable conditions in jail (locked down 23 hours, seven days a week ‘for his own protection’) while the ‘investigation continues’ with – as of yet – not a shred of evidence that he is involved in any intimidation or threats or obstruction of justice,” the lawyers wrote.
Wednesday’s filing applied only to Gunna and not Young Thug, who is also still in jail. After procedural delays, a bond hearing for Young Thug (real name Jeffery Williams) is now scheduled for June 2.
Gunna and Young Thug were both indicted on May 9 as part of a sweeping criminal case against dozens of alleged members of Young Slime Life, a group that prosecutors say has wrought “havoc” in Atlanta over the past decade. The charges, alleging a criminal conspiracy under the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, includes accusations of murder, carjacking, armed robbery, drug dealing and illegal firearm possession.
At Monday’s hearing, prosecutors said Gunna is “not just an associate” in YSL but “in a position of command” over the alleged gang and that they were concerned about witness tampering if he was released. After hearing those arguments, Judge Glanville denied bond.
In Wednesday’s request for reconsideration, Gunna’s attorneys argued that it was understandable that the judge had been fearful of what prosecutors described.
“The court was put in a difficult position by the prosecution – informed of a purported serious claim of witness intimidation (a claim that would naturally and unfavorably impact a bond decision if connected to the defendant), yet entirely deprived of any factual basis to evaluate whether such a threat occurred or whether there was any connection between that alleged threat and Kitchens,” Gunna’s lawyers wrote.
At a future hearing, the filing asked that prosecutors be forced to offer testimony to support such claims.