×
Skip to main content

Young Thug & Gunna’s RICO Trial Set For January After Judge Rejects 3-Month Delay

Prosecutors wanted to push the trial back to March, but Young Thug's lawyers opposed any delay while his client "rots in the county jail."

A Georgia judge on Thursday (Nov. 17) refused to delay the closely-watched criminal case against Young Thug, Gunna and others accused of participating in an Atlanta gang, rejecting calls from prosecutors to move the start of the trial from January to March.

Prosecutors sought the delay — from Jan. 9 to Mar. 27 — on the grounds that some of the 28 defendants in the case still lacked court-appointed attorneys. But with Young Thug, Gunna and many others stuck in jail until trial, defense lawyers opposed efforts to push back the proceedings.

At a hearing on Thursday, Fulton County Judge Ural Glanville denied the government’s motion to delay the trial, court documents show, and set jury selection to begin on Jan. 5.

Related

Both Young Thug (Jeffery Williams) and Gunna (real name Sergio Kitchens) were indicted in May, along with dozens of others, on accusations that their group YSL was not really a record label called “Young Stoner Life,” but a violent Atlanta street gang called “Young Slime Life.” The charges include allegations of murder, carjacking, armed robbery, drug dealing and illegal firearm possession over the past decade.

The two stars, who strongly deny the charges, have both repeatedly sought to be released on bond ahead of their trials. But both have been refused on multiple occasions, largely because prosecutors have warned that they might threaten witnesses or otherwise obstruct the case. More than 20 other defendants have also been refused bond, meaning they’re also stuck in jail until trial.

The case is built around Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a state law based on the more famous federal RICO statute that’s been used to target the mafia, drug cartels and other forms of organized crime. Such laws make it easier for prosecutors to sweep up many members of an alleged criminal conspiracy (in this case, 28 total) based on many smaller acts that aren’t directly related.

But indicting that many people in a single case has apparently led to a shortage of court-appointed defense attorneys. In an Oct. 6 court filing, prosecutors asked to push the trial back by nearly three months, arguing that eight defendants still lacked lawyers and that any attorney retained after that point could not “properly prepare” for a January trial.

But that request did not sit well with Young Thug’s lawyers, who said it was prosecutors’ own fault for not preparing more public defense counsel before handing down such sweeping indictments – and “disingenuous” to now argue that a delay was needed.

“It is unjust that Mr. Williams rots in the county jail and … is being required to wait on the appointment of counsel for co-indictees,” the rapper’s lawyer, Brian Steel, wrote in an Oct. 10 filing that also renewed the rapper’s request to be released ahead of trial. “It has been too long to leave a human being in custody without trial, without discovery, without the statutory right to a speedy trial and without bond.”

Beyond indicting two of rap’s biggest stars and leaving them in prison to await trial, the YSL case has also made waves because it cited their lyrics as supposed evidence of their crimes — a controversial practice that critics say unfairly sways juries and injects racial bias into the courtroom. California recently banned the tactic in that state, but Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has strongly defended using it against Young Thug and Gunna.