Young Thug Denied Bond In Atlanta RICO Case Over Fears of Witness Intimidation
A judge in Atlanta refused to release Young Thugg from prison while he awaits trial for a sweeping RICO case. This was despite passionate testimony from Kevin Liles , a music executive , and promises to keep him under strict house arrest.
At a hearing in Fulton County Superior Court, Judge Ural Glanville denied bond to Young Thug (real name Jeffery Williams), a week after doing the same with Gunna. Like in Gunna‘s case, the judge was seemingly swayed by warnings that Young Thug might intimidate witnesses if released.
” Judge Glanville stated that Mr. Williams is presumed innocent. “However, in this particular circumstance there have been significant [claims] about Mr. Williams being a danger to the community.”
Young Thug’s attorney, Brian Steel ,, assured Judge Glanville the rapper would pay for an “incredibly costly” house arrest plan to allay his fears. This plan included monitoring him 24/7 by dozens off-duty officers and bugging all his communications.
But the prosecutor Don Geary stated to Judge Glanville that Young Thugg should not be allowed “buy” his release. Geary also said that other gang members had told prosecutors they feared Young Thug’s retaliation.
” They have all stated that Mr. Williams is dangerous and that they fear him. That if they cross him they will kill their family,” Geary told Judge Glanville. “And they were very clear about .”
The order means that Young Thug will be in jail until trial, which is currently scheduled for January 9, 2023.
Thursday’s hearing came three weeks after prosecutors unveiled an 88-page indictment against Young Thug, Gunna and 26 others, claiming that the rapper’s “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 include murder, carjacking, drug dealing, and illegal firearm possession.
The case revolves around Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Law. This law is based on the federal RICO statute and has been used to target organized crime, such as the mafia and drug cartels. These laws allow prosecutors to easily sweep up multiple members of an alleged criminal plot that is based on smaller acts that aren’t directly related.
In a lengthy trial-like proceeding, Steel called multiple witnesses who testified as to why Young Thug should be released before trial. Steel called several witnesses to testify, including a private security expert who devised the house arrest plan and several residents of Young Thug’s Cleveland Avenue neighborhood in Atlanta who spoke extensively about the rapper’s good deeds.
Most notably, Steel took testimony from Liles, the founder and CEO of 300 Entertainment, the Warner Music Group unit that signed Young Thug and owns the rapper’s YSL Records imprint. Liles, who was sometimes in tears, vowed to support the rapper “personally as well as professionally” because he was certain that he was innocent.
” I truly believe, that this whole thing, it is not him,” Liles stated. “That’s not Jeffery I know. The Jeffery I know would give him the clothes off his back.” Steel warned Liles that Young Thug could face financial penalties if Liles violates his bond and asked Liles if he wanted to support him. Liles replied unambiguously: “He’s like my son to me. Yes, without hesitation.”
Liles also sharply criticized the DA’s use of Young Thug’s rap lyrics as evidence in the case – a controversial practice that’s become widespread in criminal cases against hip-hop artists. “We don’t argue about movies and other genres. These things are not brought to court. But music is something we have been on trial for and are constantly proving our innocence .
In a surprise twist, pre-taped video testimony in favor of Young Thug was also submitted to the court from superstar Machine Gun Kelly, as well as from Lyor Cohen, another music exec and the co-founder of 300 Entertainment along with Liles.
But prosecutors took control and argued that good deeds weren’t enough to secure release from extremely serious charges, especially when relayed via people like Liles, who were “financially dependent on Young Thug.” Geary recounted, at length, the various allegations against Young Thug, and called him the “leader, the top dog, the most dangerous guy” of the 28 indicted.
” I implore you to not grant him a bond. Geary stated that he is dangerous. “I don’t normally do this, but in this case I don’t hesitate. Respectfully Judge, I believe that if you give him bond, we’ll have more witnesses in danger of disappearing or in danger. Judge .”
I believe he is dangerous.
Like Gunna, these warnings seemed to have been enough to convince Judge Glanville. In denying bond, he said was particularly persuaded by the alleged statements from other gang members that they feared for their families, as well as a 2015 text message, offered by prosecutors, in which Thug allegedly told YSL members: “Anybody goes into a courtroom and tells the god honest truth they’ll be f–ing killed.”
” This threat is still being discussed, so that is of concern for the court in regards to the threats to persons within the community,” the judge wrote.
All of the prominent musicians involved in the RICO case were denied pre-trial release following the decision against Young Thug. Judge Glanville denied bond to Yak Goti, another YSL rapper, at the same hearing on Thursday. Similar to the hearings against Young Thug and Gunna, the judge was also convinced by prosecutors using music from Yak Gotti to support his denial of bond.
Like Liles. Yak Gotti’s lawyer JayAbt denounced the practice, saying that it was “sending an message to the music business in Atlanta that’s going be a massive chilling affect .”
” The message the DA’s office sends to our community is that you better not visit Atlanta to make rap videos. We’ll use them against you in Court,” Abt said.
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