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FutureStarrJudge Allows Pregnant Lawyers To Stay In Young Thug's RICO Trial
Atlanta-based rapper Young Thug (real name Jeffery Williams) has been arrested on racketeering charges related to a criminal street gang. He is one of 28 co-defendants facing 56 charges including murder, armed robbery, theft, drug trafficking and more.
Jury selection has begun in the trial and is expected to take between six and nine months.
Brigadier General Ural Glanville has served as a superior court judge for 11 years, presided over some of the most high-profile cases in his career. His military background plays an integral part of how he preside over cases; now Chief Judge for the Atlanta Judicial Circuit, he draws upon that knowledge when discussing how he handles courtroom proceedings.
Prosecutors in Georgia began filing charges against rapper Young Thug and 28 members of his YSL record label earlier this year, raising questions about what type of trial this would be. Prosecutors claimed the group was engaged in racketeering, homicide and drug trafficking activities as well as conspiracy to violate Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
As the Young Thug RICO Trial nears its January 2023 trial date, several incidents have caused jury selection delays. One of the most recent occurred last month when a co-defendant was caught on video passing off a Percocet pill to Young Thug in front of an officer during court proceedings.
The incident, captured on closed-circuit cameras inside the Fulton County Superior Courthouse, is now a major point of contention for the defense in the case. The alleged Percocet pass-off is just the latest in an array of instances where defendants have been accused of trying to sneak contraband into courtrooms.
According to WSBTV, Adams allegedly handed Thug a Percocet pill during court proceedings on December 18th. This exchange was captured on camera and prosecutors allege that Adams attempted to hide the pill as part of an effort to commit another felony offense.
After the alleged incident, Adams was taken to a hospital and treated for his apparent ingestion of the pill. He now faces additional charges in the case, such as conspiracy to violate California's anti-racketeering law and attempted murder.
Prosecutors continue to file motions for new charges, signaling they have their work cut out for them. The trial is expected to last months and involve extensive jury selection.
In addition to jury selection delays, there have been other incidents which prompted prosecutors to request more time in court. These include the arrest of a co-defendant caught on video attempting to smuggle marijuana-infused bag into the courtroom and an incident where an unknown individual brought clothing with hidden marijuana to a defendant.
On Thursday, prosecutors filed a motion asking the judge to grant them an extension in finding a juror.
Prosecutors are hoping that this delay will enable them to use YSL song lyrics and social media posts as evidence in their case against members of YSL, thus establishing them as an organized crime gang. They also plan on using photos of YSL members wearing jewelry and tattoos designed by YSL as evidence in court.
Last month, a Fulton County judge allowed pregnant lawyers to stay in Young Thug's RICO trial that started last month. Prosecutors sought to have Adams and Mender's attorney separated from the case due to pregnancy, but the judge disagreed and ordered them to continue working.
Young Thug and a 28-member gang known as Young Slime Life (YSL) were arrested in May and charged with racketeering, gang activity, drug possession, and other offenses. The rapper, real name Jeffrey Williams, along with co-defendants Gunna (real name Sergio Kitchens), were all taken into custody.
Authorities have laid out in an 88-page indictment what they allege are a series of acts committed by the rapper and other members of YSL, including murders, attempted murders and armed robberies.
Prosecutors contend Young Thug's music created a gang-like environment which fostered criminal activity. This evidence includes song lyrics referencing gang violence and other criminal activities, such as "I'm just here to slay," from Lil Wayne's 2015 tour bus shooting.
Prosecutors asserted the words were an "unlawful violation" of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which is designed to combat organized crime. That federal law prohibits anyone from making reference or insinuation of using criminal organizations for any purpose.
According to the indictment, the rapper formed a gang with the purpose of intimidating witnesses and wrecking havoc on others' lives. He is accused of orchestrating multiple murders and robberies as well as threatening to kill a police officer.
Fulton County Court Judge Ural Glanville has been criticized for allowing lawyers to continue working on the case while pregnant. This could present a challenge for prosecutors as they try to wrap up this complex conspiracy case in just a few months.
This case could be a test of how far prosecutors must go in order to pursue prosecution of an important defendant in one of California's biggest ever trials. Additionally, it could set an important precedent for future litigation.
A key issue in the case is whether prosecutors can collect enough evidence to demonstrate that the rapper had any influence over others' decisions. This will be a critical factor when determining whether the YSL gang was formed with the purpose of committing crimes.
If the jury returns a unanimous verdict, prosecutors will have achieved an important victory. They can use the evidence they've uncovered against Young Thug and YSL gang members as evidence in pursuit of convictions for RICO-related crimes.
But the case has also ignited a debate over whether prosecutors should be allowed to use song lyrics as evidence against rappers accused of crimes. That could lead to legal challenges from fans of the rapper, who contend that songs can be protected under freedom of expression laws.
The judge's ruling comes as prosecutors gear up for Young Thug's trial, which could last up to six weeks. With 300 witnesses expected in attendance, this will be an extensive hearing.