Young Thug has been denied bond for the third time as the controversial rapper awaits trial on gang-related charges following his arrest in May.
Thug (real name Jeffery Williams) has been in jail since he was arrested on May 9th as one of 28 people allegedly involved in a 56-count Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) indictment. The rapper’s home was later searched, resulting in seven additional felony charges relating to weapons and illegal substances.
Fellow rapper Gunna (real name Sergio Kitchens) was also included in the indictment, which alleges that Thug’s YSL record label is actually a “criminal street gang”, of which Williams is the kingpin. While all 28 people named in the indictment have been accused of conspiring to violate the RICO act, some of Thug and Gunna’s suspected associates have also been charged with more serious crimes, including murder and armed robbery.
Williams has so far denied all charges against him, with his lawyer stating that he has “committed no crime whatsoever”. The statement also protested his current “dungeon-like” jail conditions. After being previously denied bond on two occasions, the rapper was denied release for a third time this week after appearing in court yesterday.
“Mr. Williams is an artist, a role model, a father and a son,” Thug’s attorney, Brian Steel, told Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville, urging him to grant the rapper release ahead of his trial. However, Glanville sided once again with prosecutors, repeating his claims from June that Thug’s release would pose “a danger to the community” and witnesses.
During yesterday’s hearing, prosecutors explained that at least one YSL associate who planned to testify against Williams had to be placed in protective custody after a document indicating his willingness to participate in the trial was shared online.
Fulton County prosecutor Don Geary asked Judge Glanville to restrict the disclosure of evidence ahead of the trial, citing the potential danger to witness safety, claiming that they had found “a lot of information concerning one of our witnesses” on a celebrity news outlet.
Both Young Thug and Gunna’s trials are set for January 9th, 2023. Gunna has also been denied bail on several occasions. The rapper has also asserted his innocence, writing in a June statement: “The picture that is being painted of me is ugly and untrue.”
The prosecution has partially relied on revealing lyrics in the rappers’ material as evidence in the trial. This has sparked controversy, with some fellow artists and legal experts calling such evidence into question. In May, Gunna’s lawyers described the indictment’s reliance on song lyrics as “intensely problematic”, calling them “an artist’s creative expression and not a literal recounting of facts and circumstances”.