A Fulton County, Georgia judge has denied bond to Young Thug, the Atlanta rapper born Jeffery Lamar Williams, for a second time in the ongoing RICO case against the rapper and his label YSL Records, which is alleged by the state to be a criminal street gang. His trial is scheduled to begin on January 9, 2023.
Williams was arrested in May along with 27 other alleged YSL members as part of a 56-count indictment. He is accused of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and participation in criminal street gang activity. A raid on Williams’ home conducted during his arrest led to the addition of seven new felony charges. On May 12, he was denied bond in Fulton County Magistrate Court based on these new charges. Thursday’s ruling was made based on the charges he faces within the indictment.
At the hearing, an attorney from the state listed what the indictment alleges to be “overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy” committed by Williams, arguing they amount to proof that Williams is the leader of YSL and, therefore, the most dangerous of all 28 defendants, capable of intimidating witnesses in the indictment and likely to commit further felonies if released. Williams is accused of 35 such acts, 20 of which are song lyrics or social media posts.
Williams’ lawyer, Brian Steel, called witnesses to testify to the rapper’s character and to the security of the house arrest under which the defense proposed Williams should be placed as a condition of his bond. And his co-counsel, Keith Adams, made a forceful rebuttal of several key points in the state’s argument. Nevertheless, Judge Ural D. Glanville ruled in favor of the state, expressing concern that Mr. Williams would pose a risk to his community and to the integrity of the indictment if he were released from jail.
Sergio Kitchens, the YSL-signed rapper better known as Gunna, was also arrested and charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the RICO Act as part of the indictment. His motion for bond was denied during a May 23 hearing, and his trial has been set for the same date as Williams’ in January.
Local Atlanta news channel 11 Alive live streamed the full hearing, which is embedded below.