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Source: CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA / Getty

UPDATED: 11 a.m. ET, June 11

The Young Thug RICO trial just gets weirder and weirder by the day.

On Monday, an attorney for the Atlanta rapper was arrested and taken into custody in court.

According to 11 Alive, attorney Brian Steel was held in contempt of court by Judge Ural Glanville after an angry confrontation between Steel and the judge.

Steel was upset with Glanville after the judge refused to share information from a secret meeting between the judge, the State, and key witness Kenneth Copeland.

During court proceedings, Judge Glanville warned Steel of contempt several times. Still, he refused to back down, claiming the court was committing “coercion” because no one representing Young Thug was invited to the meeting.

Glanville was then adamant about finding out how Steel found out about the meeting.

“I’m going to give you five minutes. If you don’t tell me who it is, I’m going to put you in contempt,” Glanville said.

Steel responded, “I don’t need five minutes.”

After a short recess, Glanville asked Steel again to share how he learned about the meeting.

“Mr. Steel, I’m going to ask you again. I need you to tell me how you got this information. This is so sacrosanct to have a conversation in my chambers parroted to you,” Glanville said.

Steel refused again, which gave Judge Glanville no choice but to hold the attorney in contempt.

He was taken into custody shortly after and held in the Fulton County Jail for “no more than 20 days for this contempt,” according to 11 Alive.

Young Thug RICO Mugshot

UPDATED: 12 p.m. ET, March 20

During testimony in March, a witness for the prosecution admitted to the court he was high on drugs and might fall asleep during his testimony.

According to Law & Crime, the odd encounter began when Adrian Bean, who seemed to be leaning forward in his chair while on the stand, asked the court if he could have some water because he was intoxicated. 

“Can I get a water or something? I’m so high right now, y’all, I’m about to go to sleep on y’all now. I am,” Bean told the court.

Judge Ural Glanville allowed lawyers to bring Bean a bottle of water and then let him finish testifying under the influence. 

This was the second round of testimony for Adrian Bean, who took the stand in late February to testify about what he told police about Young Thug moments after he was arrested in connection with a drive-by shooting.

From: Law & Crime:

The testimony was broadly a retread of Bean’s earlier time on the stand in late February. Then, prosecutors sought to establish that in the immediate aftermath of Thomas’ death, Bean, who was arrested that day, told investigators Thug was a “gang banger” and was specifically allied with the Bloods. 

 

Bean’s testimony however raised questions because he admitted he had an addiction to “Molly” during the time of his arrest and didn’t recall most of what he told police during his arrest. 

Last month, a defense lawyer in the RICO case against Young Thug and his YSL associates has asked the judge to remove her from the case because her pay is too low to continue her job at trial.

According to AOL, Angela D’Williams, who was appointed to represent 19-year-old Rodalius Ryan, wrote a letter to the Georgia Public Defender Council, saying the YSL trial has left her with “minimal time for other professional responsibilities.”

D’Williams also filed a motion in April asking to withdraw because her pay of $15,000 wasn’t enough for her to live off of. Her pay was increased to $55,000, but D’Williams now says that figure isn’t enough. 

“I am not able to take on new clients because I am either in court for this trial, or outside of court working on this case, the majority of my time,” D’Williams wrote in her motion. “As such, I am not able to earn a livable wage, while representing Mr. Ryan in this trial.”

In January, during Young Thug’s YSL RICO trial, prosecutors again returned to the rapper’s music, citing lyrics from his 2021 song, “Droppin Jewels.” 

Thug’s defense team vehemently pushed back, pleading to Judge Glanville for permission to play the entire song.

“Your honor, the state of Georgia said this is what Mr. Williams said,” defense attorney Brian Steel argued. “What I’m saying is actually what he said is this, and I’m putting in the completion of the story. You know what this song is about? It’s about coming from nothing. It’s about telling your kids, not that you’re riding around with a body, it’s about telling your kids, ‘If you live under the circumstances that Mr. Williams did, you may have to kill somebody because they’re gonna kill you.’ It’s self-defense.”

Self-proclaimed co-founder of Young Slime Life, Trontavious Stephens, was also questioned by prosecutors about whether the lyrics refer to Young Thug as “Truly Humble Under God,” which he claimed they didn’t. 

Last week, Young Thug’s YSL RICO trial was postponed by the judge for the remainder of the week according to multiple sources, after Judge Glanville “fell ill” and needed time to recover.

That same day, a video call between Young Thug and his girlfriend Mariah the Scientist leaked online showing the two sharing a moment while the rapper sits behind bars.

On the call, Mariah can be heard wishing Young Thug a Merry Christmas and blowing him a kiss. The video has sparked controversy with some asking how the video got leaked in the first place.

On Monday, the defense attorney for the rapper employed a unique strategy in an effort to help prove to the court that his client is not a gang member.

According to multiple reports, Young Thug’s lawyer entered into evidence and played video footage featuring rapper Snoop Dogg performing at the Super Bowl in 2022.

“Young Thug’s attorney is playing Snoop Dogg’s Super Bowl performance to show him wearing blue and crip walking,” journalist Jewel Wicker posted on the social media app formerly known as Twitter. “His goal is to show that gang culture is prevalent in hip-hop culture.”

The video was played just days after prosecutors filed a motion to ban cameras from the courtroom.

The trial is being livestreamed online.

 

YSL trial shenanigans continue

The RICO trial for rapper Young Thug and five of his YSL associates resumed Jan. 8 as Trontavious Stephens, YSL’s self-proclaimed co-founder took the stand. But it was an unexpected Zoom call that stole the show this week.

During cross-examination Thursday, Stephens was questioned about celebrities emulating “gang” signs. 

“Do you know who Serena Williams is?” defense attorney Brian Steele asked.

“Yeah,” Stephens said.

“Have you seen her at Wimbledon doing what’s called the Crip Walk? Do you know what [the] Crip Walk is, first of all?” Steele asked.

“Um, I don’t really watch tennis,” Stephens replied.

Steele also asked Stephens about NBA star LeBron James.

“Have you seen LeBron James do a video, put out a video wiping his nose saying slime to his teammates?” Steele asked Stephens.

“Lebron James, he got a different handshake for each player,” Stephens said.

“Did one of them include wiping [his] nose, saying slime?” Steele asked.

“Lebron may have done that,” Stephens said.

The trial was interrupted when someone accessed the court’s Zoom call without permission. According to Fox 5, someone accessed the internal Zoom call and yelled “Free Thug, mistrial,” multiple times. After the incident, Judge Ural Glanville warned all parties about releasing the Zoom call link to the public.

 

Trontavious Stephens takes the stand

During Testimony on Monday, prosecutors questioned Stephens about the members’ use of gang signs and if could name three YSL members who allegedly committed crimes.

According to FOX 5, Stephens told the court that he counted himself among the three people he was asked to mention who committed crimes for YSL. 

“Do you contend at this point that somehow you thought you constituted three or more members of Young Slime Life?” the prosecutor asked him.

“Yes, I really thought that I could be … I really thought, because I’m in the indictment,” he said. “I’m indicted.”

Defense attorneys questioned if Stephens actually co-founded YSL.

In his testimony last week, Stephen was asked to explain to the court the term “snitching.”

Young Thug also showed up in court wearing a white Matty Boys button-up with the words “Sex Records” written on the pocket of his shirt, which he eventually covered up with his yellow bomber jacket. 

Trial Resumes After Defendant Stabbed

The RICO trial resumed at the top of the year after being put on hold because one of the defendants was stabbed in jail.

The trial began in November after a grueling 10 months of jury selection.

Watch the trial here:

 

In December, Shannon Stillwell was stabbed at the Fulton County Jail, which was confirmed by both the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and his defense attorney.

“Shannon was stabbed in jail,” attorney Max Schardt said. “Other than he survived, I don’t know much else.”

After learning about the tragic incident, Judge Ural Glanville suspended court last week.

The next day Judge Glanville told jurors Stillwell’s medical issues “still exists” and that he would “recess” [jurors] “for the holidays.”

He then instructed juror members to return to court Jan. 2 at 9 a.m. and to not read or talk about anything from the trial. 

Stillwell is one of 28 defendants who were indicted last year in Georgia’s RICO cast against Atlanta rapper Young Thug and his YSL gang members. Stillwell faces eight charges, including conspiracy to violate RICO; two counts of murder; two counts of participation in criminal street gang activity; two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon previously convicted of felony involving the use or possession of a firearm; and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

The trial began with some hiccups

The trial against Atlanta rapper Young Thug began earlier this month, as opening statements from the prosecution started with some hiccups. 

Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, was indicted last year along with more than a dozen other YSL members for violating Georgia’s anti-racketeering and gang laws.

According to MSNBC, Chief Deputy District Attorney Adriane Love told the jury, “What you will not hear any evidence of is that the defendants were not involved in a criminal street gang.”

Young Thug’s defense attorney then objected to Love’s statement claiming the prosecution was burden-shifting, which the judge sustained. 

The defense team also tried to move for a mistrial after Love potentially violated judicial orders in her PowerPoint presentation. The motion for a mistrial was ultimately dismissed by the judge. 

Young Thug’s lawyers tried to change the narrative around their defendant by explaining to the jury that his name wasn’t gang-related but instead meant “Truly Humbled Under God.”

They also explained the meaning of Young Thug and Gunna’s hit track, “Pushin P,” saying it meant “Pushing Positivity.”

“It means, any circumstance you’re in, if you think positively about something, you can make it through. You’re pushing positivity,” Young Thug’s lawyer told the court.

On Wednesday, Detective Mark Belknap, testified in court about the history of street gangs in Atlanta, particularly the “Raised on Cleveland” or the “ROC Crew.” According to Fox 5, he is the first of potentially several hundred who are expected to take the stand in the trial of rapper Young Thug and five associates.

The trial is projected to last for months and has several high-profile figures as witnesses.

Lyrics To Be Allowed In Court

On Thursday, a judge ruled in favor of lyrics being used as evidence against rapper Young Thug in his upcoming trial. 

According to AP, Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Ural Glanville said prosecutors will be allowed to use rap lyrics as evidence against Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams. 

Specifically, Judge Glanville will allow prosecutors to introduce 17 sets of rap lyrics to the jury, but they must show how the lyrics are related to crimes the rapper and his co-defendants are accused of committing.

“The question is not rap lyrics. The question is gang lyrics,” prosecutor Mike Carlson told the judge.

“These are party admissions. They happen to come in the form of lyrics.”

Carson also argued the defendants were not protected under the First Amendment because they were not being prosecuted for the lyrics, instead, the lyrics were related to criminal acts or criminal intent.

Young Thug’s defense attorney, Doug Weinstein, argued that his lyrics were not an admission of guilt and that they could lead to unfair prejudice from the jury.

“They’re going to look at these lyrics and instantly say they are guilty,” said Weinstein. “They are not going to look at the evidence that’s actually probative of their guilt once these lyrics get in front of them.”

Rap lyrics being used in court has been a contentious topic of debate for decades, which has even led to legislative measures. 

For instance, on May 17, New York’s State Senate passed a bill that would place limitations on how rap lyrics can be used as evidence in criminal cases. Now, Senate Bill S7527, or the “Rap Music on Trial” must pass the state assembly before it can be enacted into law.

Jay-Z is one of the leading music industry giants advocating for the groundbreaking piece of legislation. In January, the rapper’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, sent a letter to state lawmakers urging for the bill to be passed.

“This is an issue that’s important to (Jay-Z) and all the other artists that have come together to try to bring about this change,” Spiro said, according to Rolling Stone. “This is a long time coming. Mr. Carter is from New York, and if he can lend his name and his weight, that’s what he wants to do.”

 

Jury Finally Seated In Trial

After almost 10 months a jury has finally been seated in the trial of rapper Young Thug as well as the six other defendants charged.

On Wednesday, prosecutors and defense attorneys chose 12 jurors and six alternates. The jury was chosen from 40 qualified people, according to AJC.

The trial is expected to begin Nov. 27 and is anticipated to last four months to a year.

Jury selection in the case, which began in January, has taken an unprecedented amount of time to complete, with attorneys calling it “the longest in Georgia history.” 

According to AJC, about 1,200 potential jurors were been summoned, many of whom said they couldn’t afford to miss work for a case that could last nearly a year once the selection process is over.

Young Thug, whose legal name is Jeffery Williams, has remained in jail since his May 2022 arrest.

The Atlanta rapper was arrested and charged with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, citing his participation in street gang activity. Williams and 28 members of his YSL team were named in the indictment, including popular Atlanta rapper Gunna, who was later released. 

The charges ranged from murder and attempted armed robbery, to conspiracy to violate the state RICO Act.

Prosecutors labeled YSL, the rapper’s music label, a criminal gang.

Young Thug Health Concerns 

In May, Williams was reportedly rushed to the hospital due to his failing health conditions behind bars. He was treated at and released from Grady Hospital in Atlanta.

Williams’ attorney has also been very vocal about his health as he claims his client has been showing signs of declining health while in prison. Some of his hardships have been said to include poor diet options, limited access to exercise in a small jail cell and a lack of available fresh air.

From 11 Alive:

In a motion filed on April 24, Williams’ attorney Brian Steel says the 31-year-old is not able to stay healthy. Steel lists in the motion that Williams has access to limited healthy food options and relies on food with ‘zero health benefits,’ like chocolate and chips.

Steel says Williams has had little access to fresh air and sunlight since May 2022, outside of when he’s transported to and from the courthouse, and exercise is limited because of the small cell.”

Jury Selection A Tall Order

Seating a jury in the Young Thug case and his alleged associates has been anything but easy. 

In April, a potential juror in the case was thrown in jail for three days after she was caught filming on her cell phone during court proceedings.

According to AJC, Juror 1004 was put in handcuffs Monday by Chief Judge Ural Glanville, who visibly scolded her for violating his instructions.

“I went through a very long and arduous process of telling people what they could and could not do and you violated that,” Judge Glanville said to the juror. 

The court initially thought the juror was livestreaming court proceedings, but when she admitted to filming she said she just recorded a video and deleted it once the juror next to her told her she was in the wrong.

“It wasn’t livestreamed at all,” the potential juror said. “I did take a video and then the young lady next to me said I couldn’t do that.”

When the juror’s phone was confiscated, the video clip was found by deputies in her “recently deleted” folder.

The woman also claimed that she didn’t know she wasn’t allowed to film since it was her first time being summoned to jury duty.

2022 Costume Institute Benefit - In America: An Anthology of Fashion

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Gunna Released from prison

In December 2022, Atlanta rapper Gunna was released from jail after he pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge in the ongoing RICO indictment against fellow rapper Young Thug and several other members of YSL, a record label that prosecutors allege to be a criminal street gang.

According to WSBTV, Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, negotiated an Alford plea deal during his court trial on Wednesday. Under the agreement, a defendant does not have to admit that they committed a crime. However, the defendant must admit that the evidence presented by the prosecution could likely be used to persuade a judge or jury to find them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Under the plea deal, the “Pushing “P hitmaker was sentenced to five years with one year to serve in prison. His one-year sentence was commuted to time served, and the remaining sentence was suspended. 

Now, Gunna will be required to complete 500 hours of community service, with 350 of those hours speaking to young men and women in the community about the dangers of gangs and gang violence, Fox 5 Atlanta noted.

Threats To Kill Or Harm Witnesses

In July 2022, a motion was granted by Judge Ural Glanville, that forces defense lawyers to withhold witnesses’ contact information from their clients, after prosecutors cited, “numerous threats to kill or harm witnesses.”

Although defense lawyers denied any claims of witness intimidation, prosecutors allege witnesses have said: “that they fear not only for their own lives but for their families’ lives should they testify.”

District Attorney Fani T. Willis, also filed a motion with the court stating that YSL had, “a history of intimidating witnesses.” She also described an incident from the indictment in which a YSL member was accused of attempting to murder two Atlanta police officers.

SEE ALSO:

What Does Gunna’s Release Mean For Young Thug’s RICO Case?

‘Threats To Kill Or Harm Witnesses’ In Young Thug RICO Case Is A Serious Concern, Prosecutors Say

The post Young Thug RICO Trial: Rapper’s Attorney Arrested After Argument With Judge appeared first on NewsOne.

Young Thug RICO Trial: Rapper’s Attorney Arrested After Argument With Judge  was originally published on newsone.com