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NBA YoungBoy Wins Not Guilty Verdict On Gun Possession Charge

If convicted, the rapper would have faced years in prison over the charge.

A Los Angeles federal jury on Friday cleared NBA YoungBoy (a.k.a. Youngboy Never Broke Again) of a charge of illegal firearms possession over a loaded handgun found in his car last year, a verdict that avoids the potential for a years-long prison sentence.

Following a three-day trial, the jury found YoungBoy (real name Kentrell Gaulden) not guilty on a single count of violating a federal law that makes it illegal for felons to possess firearms, a spokesman for federal prosecutors confirmed to Billboard.


The charge stemmed from a March 2021 incident in which law enforcement executed an arrest warrant over a separate federal gun charge against YoungBoy. When police pulled him over in his new Mercedes Maybach in Tarzana, Calif., the rapper allegedly sped away and then fled on foot. When his abandoned car was searched, police say they found a loaded FNX-45 semiautomatic handgun on the floor behind the front passenger seat. That was illegal because YoungBoy had been previously convicted in 2017 of aggravated assault with a firearm.

The verdict is a huge win for YoungBoy: According to a federal report last year, the average sentence for someone convicted of a single felon-in-possession charge is 55 months. But he still must face a similar trial in Louisiana later this year over the same charge that resulted in the California incident.

In a statement, YoungBoy’s attorney James P. Manasseh praised the outcome: “We are grateful that this jury was so thoughtful and saw the truth. We said from the beginning Kentrell was innocent and we just needed our opportunity to get in front of a fair jury.”

During a trial that kicked off on Tuesday, attorneys for YoungBoy argued that he did not know the gun was in the car or intended to possess it – key requirements under the statute. And they said his sudden flight from police officers was not an admission of guilt, but a fearful reaction to how the cops acted.

“This is what Mr. Gaulden is looking at. He sees… this isn’t a traffic stop. This isn’t where they go up and ask for his license, his registration… they’re talking to him on a megaphone,” Manasseh argued in court. “Police officers are moving towards the front with hands on their weapons.”

But prosecutors argued that the case was straightforward – that the gun was purchased by a family friend and that he had been captured in both video and photographs with the “same exact type of gun.”

Following the not guilty verdict, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles told Billboard: “We believe the evidence presented in this case supported the charges brought by the grand jury. While we are disappointed with the verdict, we respect the jury’s decision.”