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Gunna Asks Neighboring Georgia County to Release Him From Jail

The so-called habeas corpus petition is a last-ditch effort to get the rapper out of jail while he awaits trial next year on Atlanta gang charges.

In their latest bid to free their client from jail ahead of trial, attorneys for Gunna are now asking a neighboring county in Georgia – the physical location of the rapper’s jail cell – to order him released.

After months of unsuccessfully asking a judge in Fulton County to free Gunna (real name Sergio Kitchens) on bond, his lawyers are now trying their luck with Henry County next door, the location of the jail where the rapper is being housed.

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In a so-called petition for a writ of habeas corpus – a constitutional procedure that allows prisoners to challenge their imprisonment – Gunna’s attorneys argued Tuesday that Fulton County prosecutors had offered little to no evidence to support his continued incarceration.

“To allow Mr. Kitchens to be held in jail by the unsworn claims and conclusions of the state, devoid of any specific facts or supporting evidence – over objection by the defense – is to render his presumption of innocence meaningless and to discard his right to due process,” Gunna’s attorneys wrote.

Habeas petitions must be filed in the jurisdiction where a prisoner is held, and Gunna is currently held in the Henry County Jail. But the maneuver provides a convenient way to get around Fulton County Superior Court, which has repeatedly denied Gunna’s requests to be released on bond.

The habeas maneuver should also provide a route for appeal. The judge in Fulton County has refused to allow Gunna’s attorneys to file a mid-case, “interlocutory” appeal to challenge the denial of bail. But if the habeas petition is denied, Gunna has the right to automatically challenge the ruling – and his imprisonment – to a state appeals court.

A spokesman for the Fulton County District Attorney’s office did not immediately return a request for comment on the petition.

In May, Fulton County prosecutors unveiled an 88-page indictment against Young Thug, Gunna and 26 others, claiming that their “YSL” was not a record label called “Young Stoner Life” but really a violent street gang called “Young Slime Life” that had wrought “havoc” on Atlanta for the past decade. The charges, filed under Georgia’s version of the federal RICO statute, included allegations of murder, carjacking, armed robbery, drug dealing and illegal firearm possession by various YSL members.

Both Young Thug and Gunna were later denied bond, with prosecutors arguing in both cases that releasing the rappers might allow them to intimidate or harm witnesses in the sprawling case.

Echoing previous filings, Gunna’s attorneys argued Tuesday that those claims were supported by nothing more than unsworn “proffers” by prosecutors, not by actual evidence or even sworn testimony.

“Repeatedly, the state proffered shocking and conclusory facts and then gave no basis as to how it believed this information was accurate and gave no nexus between the ‘facts’ and Mr. Kitchens,” the rapper’s lawyers wrote. “Without the proper tools of cross examination, the defense was powerless to respond.”

The habeas petition, filed by attorneys Steven H. Sadow, Donald F. Samuel, John A. Garland and Kristen W. Novay, asked for a court hearing within 8 days of the filing.