In the early 2010s, Jeffrey Lamar Williams — the Atlanta rapper known as Young Thug — began building an empire. He founded the YSL collective out of his home in the Jonesboro South projects, enlisting friends, family members, and acquaintances. To his fans around the world, Young Stoner Life is the record label that released his own music, as well as that of his peers and protégés — the most successful being Sergio Kitchens (a.k.a. Gunna). But Georgia state prosecutors allege that Young Slime Life, a group they refer to in court documents as a “criminal street gang,” is something far more sinister.
Last spring, Thug, Gunna, and 26 other alleged members of Young Slime Life were named in a massive, 56-count indictment spearheaded by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. (Willis, incidentally, has also led the charge in Georgia’s election fraud indictment of Donald Trump and his alleged co-conspirators.) They’ve been charged with counts of conspiracy to violate Georgia’s Racketeering and Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act — a state-level version of national legislation originally enacted in the 1970s as a way to prosecute organized and corporate crime. Georgia’s RICO Act, passed in 1981, allows prosecutors more leeway than its national counterpart. (Per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Georgia’s RICO law defines racketeering more broadly than the federal statute. It also allows a DA to introduce evidence that, without racketeering charges, would not stand on its own as individual crimes.”)
Over the course of more than nine years, the defendants are alleged to have cumulatively committed 182 “overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy.” (N.B.: In a RICO case, “overt acts” are actions that link defendants to a conspiracy charge, not charges themselves. The federal RICO Act requires that a defendant commit two overt acts to be included in such an indictment, whereas Georgia’s RICO act requires only one.)
But is YSL a criminal organization? The prosecution and defense tell two very different stories. In one, Young Stoner Life is a legitimate enterprise, a way of uplifting Young Thug’s community that eventually became its own imprint under 300 Entertainment. In another, Young Slime Life is a Bloods-affiliated street gang responsible for numerous murders, shootings, carjackings, and other armed robberies. Thug’s attorney, Brian Steel, flatly denies the allegations, saying, “Mr. Williams committed no crime whatsoever and we will fight to my last drop of blood to clear him.”
Sixteen months later, the YSL RICO case is mired in a chaotic juror selection process. It’s currently on pace to be the longest trial in Georgia’s history. With nine new counts (including six new felony charges for Thug) added to the indictment last summer, eight defendants still waiting to be tried, and a 2,000-person juror search still ongoing, here’s a comprehensive guide to everything that’s happened so far.
For a more streamlined take of the nuances of the YSL trial, read our explainer.
August 16, 1991
Jeffrey Lamar Williams (a.k.a. Young Thug) is born in the Sylvan Hills neighborhood of Atlanta.
June 14, 1993
Sergio Giavanni Kitchens (a.k.a. Gunna) is born in College Park, Georgia.
June 18, 2011
Young Thug releases his first mixtape, I Came From Nothing.
Young Thug forms the Young Slime Life crew in Atlanta, Georgia, according to the timeline given in the indictment filed by Fani Willis and the state of Georgia. Many of the group’s founding members are family or friends of Thug from the city’s Jonesboro South projects.
During the RICO trial, the prosecution will characterize YSL as a “street gang” that has “affiliation with the national Bloods gang, and some associates claim the Blood subset gangs Sex Money Murder and 30 Deep.” Their case is built on the allegations that, over the past decade, the organization has been responsible for a vast range of criminal activity, including multiple murders, shootings, thefts, and carjackings.
March 29, 2013
The state of Georgia indicts 35 Atlanta educators on RICO charges, alleging they conspired to correct their students’ standardized test scores. Then-Assistant District Attorney Fani Willis leads the prosecution. 23 of the indicted teachers and administrators plead guilty, leaving 12 to be tried.
July 16, 2013
Under the name Yung Gunna, Sergio Kitchens releases his first mixtape, Hard Body.
September 9, 2013
Young Thug is arrested with a firearm and charged with theft by receiving stolen property. In the YSL indictment, prosecutors will refer to the incident as an “overt act.”
April 20, 2014
Young Thug releases “Eww,” a song the state of Georgia will later allege is an “overt act” based on the following lyrics: “Red just like Elmo but I never fuckin giggle”; “YSL won’t fold / Pick his ass off from the balcony”; “YSL, wipe a n***a nose”; “I’ma fuck for the cash then she getting robbed by Tick”; “In a Bentley on West Lee gettin’ trailed by sniper”; and “All I ever wanted was the money / Put your hands in the air if you dare / Any motherfucker to step over here / F&N put ’em in a wheel chair.” Rather than referring “Eww” and other Thug releases as songs, the indictment lists them as “video[s] released on social media.”
November 3, 2014
A photo is posted online of Young Thug flashing a YSL hand sign while wearing red clothing — an “overt act,” per the indictment.
January 3, 2015
A photo of Thug and his co-defendant Damekion Garlington is posted online and deemed an “overt act” due to its caption: “we ain’t going back and forth.”
January 25, 2015
A conversation between Thug and Kyle Oree, the alleged leader of the Sex Money Murder Gang, is taped. (Oree is not indicted in the YSL RICO case.) The conversation includes the following remarks, which are listed together in the indictment as a single “overt act”: “sacrifices must be made, soldiers must fall in order for battle to be won,” and “5, H020 Street Life, KG DA GOD, 3Shot, Nazty Nu, and M1, anybody not under one of these individuals in the state of GA must line up PETE-SAP. There is no rolling from one to the other. Everything is as is if you are one, SEX MONEY MURDA. Nothing added and nothing taken away 2gunz.”
January 7, 2015
Per the state’s account, Thug rents a 2014 Infiniti Q50 Sedan that is used in the murder of Donovon Thomas Jr. (the indictment calls Thomas “a rival gang member” to Thug), another “overt act.” Prosecutors later paint Thug as the mastermind behind this and several other killings of rival gang members.
The murder is allegedly committed by YSL members Javaris Bradford, Justin Cobb, Deamonte Kendrick (the rapper Yak Gotti), Demise McMullen, and Shannon Stillwell three days later.
January 26, 2015
Thug says the following in a video posted online: “So a n***a lie to they momma, lie to they kids, lie to they brothers and sisters, then get right into the courtroom and tell the God’s honest truth. Don’t get it, y’all n***as need to get fucking killed bro, from me and YSL.” The prosecution links this statement to Donovan Thomas Jr.’s murder and lists it as an “overt act.”
February 9, 2015
Thug and Garlington post a video online flashing what prosecutors will allege are YSL and Blood gang signs, captioned “U digg 30 / YSL xoming soon.” The indictment lists the post as an “overt act.”
March 20, 2015
Thug poses with Garlington, Yak Gotti, Stillwell, and Martinez Arnold (the rapper Duke) posted by Instagram user @sxar_faxe, flashing YSL signs. The photo is listed in the indictment as an “overt act.”
April 12, 2015
11 of the 12 educators tried in the cheating case are convicted of racketeering. One is acquitted of all charges. (As of September 11, 2023, two of the convicted educators have served prison time while two others accepted a deal that helped them avoid incarceration. The rest are still appealing their convictions.)
April 17, 2015
Young Thug releases his widely acclaimed debut “commercial mixtape,” Barter 6.
July 7, 2015
Young Thug gets in an altercation with security guard Christopher May when May tells Thug he is no longer welcome in Atlanta’s Perimeter Mall. Thug allegedly responds to May with what the indictment refers to as a “terroristic threat” (and an “overt act”): “If you continue to approach, I’ll shoot you in the face with a gun,” a perplexing quote to anyone familiar with Thug’s speech patterns.
March 25, 2016
Thug releases his Slime Season 3 mixtape. The project includes the song “Slime Shit,” containing the following lyrics that are listed together as an “overt act” in the indictment: “Hey, this that slime shit, hey / YSL shit, hey / Killin’ 12 shit, hey / Fuck a jail shit, hey”; “Cooking white brick”; “I’m not new to this, hey / I’m so true to this, hey / I done put a whole slime on a hunnid licks”; “slime or get slimed”; “I’m in the VIP and I got that pistol on my hip, you prayin that you live I’m prayin that I hit, hey / This that slime shit”; “Fuck, fuck the police (fuck’em), in a high speed”; “Hundred rounds in a Tahoe”; “I’m prepared to take ’em down”; “Got banana clips for all these n***as actin monkey”; “This that slime shit / This that mob shit”; and “Fuck the judge, YSL, this that mob life.”
October 14, 2016
Sergio Kitchens releases Drip Season, his debut mixtape as Gunna.
November 15, 2016
Thug co-founds the Young Stoner Life Records imprint under 300 Entertainment, alongside the larger label’s CEO, Kevin Liles. YSL Records artists Gunna, Yak Gotti, Duke, and Thug’s brother, Quantavius Greer (a.k.a. Unfoonk) will all eventually be among the 28 individuals named in the RICO indictment.
September 24, 2017
Thug and Gunna are riding in a car that is searched by police and found to contain an allegedly stolen firearm and drugs. They are each charged with theft by receiving stolen property, as well as possession with intent to distribute felony quantities of methamphetamine, hydrocodone, and marijuana. Each of their four felony charges are listed as separate overt acts in the indictment, though neither artist has been convicted of any crime related to the incident. The indictment also lists the traffic stop as evidence of a fifth “overt act”: felony participation in criminal street gang activity. Thug is indicted on this specific charge (count 56); Gunna is not.
December 30, 2017
Thug and Antonio Sumlin allegedly post a song called “Original Slime Shit,” not to be confused to the Slime Season 3 track “Slime Shit.” (“Original Slime Shit” does not appear to be online as of September 11, 2023.) Due to the alleged lyrics “murder gang shit” and “YSL until we’re dead and pale,” as well as the apparent flashing of YSL signs in the alleged music video, the alleged song is listed in the indictment as an “overt act.”
April 12, 2018
Thug shares the single “Anybody” (feat. Nicki Minaj), deemed an “overt act” by the state of Georgia based on the following lyrics: “I never killed anybody / But I got something to do with that body,” “I told them to shoot a hundred rounds,” “ready for war like I’m Russia,” and “I get all type of cash, I’m a general.”
May 18, 2018
Thug and Gunna are pulled over once again. Another car allegedly in their entourage is pulled over in the same stop. The latter vehicle is found to contain fully automatic weapons with high-capacity magazines, including an AK-47. Since the weapons were not found in their car, neither rapper is charged. This traffic stop is also listed in the indictment as an overt act committed by both artists.
Fani Willis temporarily leaves the Fulton County DA’s office to establish a private practice: The Law Offices of Fani T. Willis, LLC. The following year, she defends YSL Mondo — a West Atlanta rapper who says he helped Young Thug found the YSL collective in the early ’10s — in an aggravated assault case. (Mondo recently told Rolling Stone that Willis was a “great attorney” for him, helping him avoid prison time for his charges. He is not indicted in the YSL RICO case.)
August 8, 2019
Young Thug tags an alleged rival gang member, YFN Lucci, in a photo attached to the following statement: “yfn if ain like what u do for your mother and kids I WOULD’VE BEEN KILLED YOU.” The indictment lists the post as an “overt act.”
September 16, 2019
Thug releases So Much Fun, technically his debut studio LP. Appearing on the album is “Just How It Is,” a track listed in the indictment as an “overt act” based on the following lyrics: “I escaped every one of the licks ’cause I was supposed to be rich / I don’t care nothin’ ‘bout no cop, I’m tellin’ you just how it is”; “Hit ’em with the MAC now, now his whole body scabbed”; “I done fucked her crew / I done did the robbin’ / I done did the jackin’, now I’m full rappin’”; “Last n***a tried me almost got popped in Lenox / Ask the cops, ask the detectives, they know all the business / Ask the cops and the detectives, all the jurisdictions”; “Gave the lawyer close to two mil’, he handle all the killings”; and “We don’t speak ‘bout shit on wax, it’s all mob business / We known to kill the biggest cats of all kitties.”
March 12, 2020
A conversation between Thug and Marquavius Huey is recorded. Allegedly discussing a stolen vehicle, Thug tells Huey, “If he don’t take it back, he gon’ die,” referring to another party, per the indictment, which lists the comment as an “overt act.”
June 12, 2020
Gunna appears on Lil Keed’s track “Fox 5.” In the video, he can be seen wearing a YSL pendant and a “Slatt” pendant. Adding Gunna’s lyric “We got ten hundred-round choppers” as basis, the indictment lists the song as an “overt act.”
August 11, 2020
Fani Willis wins the Democratic primary for District Attorney of Fulton County in a sweep over her six-term predecessor, Paul Howard. Her campaign promises include putting more resources into pre-charge investigations, implementing pre-indictment diversion programs, increasing the number of prosecutors in her county’s courtrooms, and making police use-of-force cases more transparent. As there is no Republican candidate in the running, Willis wins the general election by default.
December 18, 2020
Young Stoner Life Records releases the single “Take It to Trial,” taken from the 2021 compilation album Slime Language. The track features Young Thug, Gunna, and Yak Gotti. It is listed in the indictment as an “overt act” based on Thug’s hook (“Take this shit to motherfucking trial”) as well as a number of Gotti’s lyrics — “For slimes, you know I’ll kill”; “Trial, I done beat it twice (Trial), state, I’m undefeated like / Feds came and snatched me, I don’t know, no point in askin’ / I was on Bleveland stuck like a magnet / Bitch-ass n***a, I’ll shoot at your mammy / Need to sit down if you can’t stand me / I don’t turn down, I up my stamina / I don’t turn down, I up my stamina / Take it to trial, get an appeal / Take it to trial, yeah, you can whack ’em”; and “Pay for that casket, that’s just if we whack ’em” — and the following lines from Gunna: “My young n***as pullin’ up Bentleys, Aston Martins, ‘Raris, and Teslas / Strapped with an F&N, choppers, carbines, know some steppers” and “Watch me whack that bitch, ah / Pop ’em like a cyst, ah / P Glock with the assist.”
January 15, 2021
Young Thug appears on the posthumous Juice WRLD track “Bad Boy.” The indictment misdates the song as released two years earlier and uses the following lyrics to maintain that it constitutes an “overt act”: “You better watch the way you breathe around me fore that breath be your last, boy”; “Smith & Wesson .45 put a hole in his heart, Better not play with me, killers, they stay with me”; “I shot at his mommy, now he no longer mention me”; and “I had on Margielas when I shot at the ct / Act like you want war and they gon' smoke you like a blunt.”
February 4, 2021
A conversation between Young Thug and his co-defendants Wunnie Lee and Trontavious Stephens is recorded. The following excerpted statements are listed together as an “overt act”: “YSL rule the world kid. 24m on a n***a head, y’all just start bringing me the money”; and “man, y’all n***as stop playing with me.”
April 16, 2021
Young Stoner Life Records releases another compilation album, Slime Language 2. The project includes a track titled “Really Be Slime” featuring YNW Melly, BSlime, and FN DaDealer (none of whom are indicted in the YSL RICO case). The indictment, however, misattributes the following lyrics to Young Thug, using them as the basis to accuse him of another “overt act”: “My n***as really, they slime / And we committing them crimes”; “Hot out and shoot”; “Roll one up for the gang”; “You wanna be slime? Go catch you a body”; and “Me and lil’ bro, we used to steal from the store / We had to stick it and go.”
Two more songs from the album are also listed as separate “overt acts”:
“Slatty,” due to a number of Thug’s lyrics — “I killed his man in front of his mama / Like fuck lil’ bruh, sister and his cousin”; “I shoot out”; “Kill ’em, not leaving a trace”; and “I had to break in the safe, yeah / And I didn’t leave ’em a trace” — and the following from Yak Gotti and Duke (who are, inexplicably, not identified in the listing): “Dissect your body like science class, n***a”; “Gangsta ’cause you got a body, lil’ n***a / Magazine clips, so you might get your issue / You think you gangsta cause you got a pistol?”; “Look at my trigger, my trigger start itching”; and “YSL, we going overboard.”
And “Ski,” which features Thug and Gunna — but not Duke, as the indictment implies — due to the following lines: “I fuck with slatts and we come to eat rats and I came with some fuckin’ piranhas”; and “I tote an FN on me, call Neechie-Neech, it’s a Glock he keep / Duke Rollin’ 60s, he locked in Cs.”
May 13, 2021
Thug is recorded in conversation with Duke, Unfoonk, Lee, Stephens, Sumlin, and another co-defendant, Miles Farley. The indictment lists an alleged statement from Thug — “Y’all ain’t beat ’em up or shot ’em up yet… Y’all n***as getting soft” — as an “overt act.”
May 21, 2021
Young Thug is clocked driving 120 miles per hour in a 55 miles-per-hour zone on I-85, with officers claiming he was engaged in “a contest and exhibition of speed” (or, more simply, a street race).
June 11, 2021
With homicides in Atlanta up nearly 60 percent in 2021, Willis promises to fight violent crime in the city. “Violent crime is out of control. It is completely unacceptable!,” she writes in a social media post. “People should be able to go to a pool party, shopping, to dinner and the club without fear of being killed.”
September 1, 2021
A video call between Thug, Huey, and Trenquavius Mender — then an inmate at Fulton County Jail — is recorded. The indictment shows a grainy screenshot from the recording in which Thug is seen allegedly flashing a YSL sign. Not pictured in the indictment are the previous moments of the call, in which Mender “stated that he needed something” and Thug “pointed to Huey to take care of it,” according to the indictment, which lists all of these alleged actions together as an “overt act.”
September 4, 2021
A photo of Thug and Huey is posted online with the caption “from lockdown to a jet slat biz.” The post is listed in the indictment as an “overt act.”
November 14, 2021
In a communication with Thug recorded by the prosecution, Huey states, “You know I’m ready to handle da business & go sit down if I got to ‘bout any one of y’all on my momma.” The indictment lists the message as an “overt act.”
November 17, 2021
Bill S7527, more commonly known as the “Rap Music on Trial” bill, is introduced in the New York State Senate by Democratic senators Jamaal Bailey and Brad Hoylman. The proposed legislation limits the way rap lyrics can be used as evidence in a trial, requiring prosecutors to show a “strong, factual nexus between the art and the facts of the case.” It receives support from prominent rappers including Jay-Z, Killer Mike, and Big Sean.
December 31, 2021
A photo of Young Thug wearing a YSL pendant and “wiping under his nose” with his index finger is posted online and deemed an “overt act” by the state of Georgia.
January 16, 2022
A video is posted online of Thug allegedly flashing a Bloods sign, an “overt act,” according to the indictment.
February 12, 2022
Thug appears in a photo online wearing a YSL pendant and a “Slime” bracelet. A tattoo of the letter “B” is visible on his chest. Taken together, the apparel and visible tattoo are deemed an “overt act” by Georgia prosecutors.
March 9, 2022
Gunna posts a photo of himself and Thug to Instagram, captioned, “SLATT BUSINESS… #YSL4L.” The indictment lists it as an “overt act.”
May 9, 2022
Young Thug is taken into custody and placed in Fulton County Jail. The rapper is one of 28 members of YSL (both the record label and rap collective) charged with conspiracy to violate the state Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act in a 56-count grand jury indictment. The 88-page document alleges that the Young Slime Life criminal street gang cumulatively committed 182 “overt acts” in furtherance of the conspiracy, including murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, theft, drug dealing, carjacking, and witness intimidation. Thug himself is indicted on two counts: the first (the umbrella conspiracy charge) and the 56th, participation in criminal street gang activity.
Thug is alleged to have committed 36 “overt acts,” including six stemming from his and Gunna’s two traffic stops, one based on an older felony charge of receiving stolen property, one involving the rental of a vehicle allegedly used in the commission of a murder, and another related to his alleged “terroristic threat” to a mall security guard. The others comprise lyrics from 10 songs — including one misattributed to Thug and another that does not currently exist online — as well as 11 social media posts and six private communications between him and his associates.
While the case against Thug and Gunna directly related to their 2017 traffic stop remains open, Brian Steel will go on to contend that it is all but dead in the water after four years, noting that another passenger in the vehicle has copped to the charges.
Gunna, who is indicted on only one count (conspiracy), is implicated in 10 overt acts: the six involving the two traffic spots, the lyrics of three songs, and a social media post.
May 11, 2022
After a raid on his home in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood, Thug is charged with seven new felonies: possession of marijuana with intent to distribute; possession of a Schedule III, IV, or V controlled substance with intent to distribute; possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony; possession of a sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer; and three counts of associating with a criminal street gang to conduct or participate in criminal gang activity.
Thug is denied bond by Fulton County Magistrate Court Judge Robert Wolf, after the state prosecutor makes the case that he poses a significant flight risk due to “considerable resources.”
The same day, Gunna turns himself in.
May 17, 2022
New York’s Rap Music on Trial bill passes in the state senate and is delivered to the state assembly. As of September 11, 2023, the assembly has yet to vote on the bill.
May 23, 2022
Gunna is denied bond by Judge Ural Glanville, who expresses concern about potential witness intimidation. His and Thug’s trial date is set for January 9, 2023.
May 26, 2022
18-year old Quartavius Mender is taken into custody after threatening Fulton County sheriff Pat Labat and his wife. He’d written ““#freethug or Imma sh00t u and your wife” and “Imma assassinate you” in comments on Labat’s Instagram posts.
June 2, 2022
Young Thug is denied bond for a second time, this time by Judge Glanville. While the May 12 ruling was based on the new charges incurred during the raid of Thug’s Atlanta home, this appeal is made based on the charges Thug faces within the initial indictment. An attorney for the state claims that, as the alleged leader of YSL, Thug is the most dangerous of all 28 defendants.
June 9, 2022
Label executives Kevin Liles (300) and Julie Greenwald (Atlantic) circulate a Petition to Protect Black Art, demanding sweeping, national legislation limiting the presentation of lyrics as evidence of criminal wrongdoing in federal and state courts.
June 13, 2022
In his first public statement since his arrest, an audio message recorded by Young Thug in jail plays to attendees at the Hot 97 Summer Jam festival at MetLife stadium in New Jersey. In it, he thanks fans for their support and asks them to sign Liles’s and Greenwald’s petition.
July 6, 2022
After prosecutors claim to have learned of numerous threats against their witnesses, Judge Glainville issues an order that forces defense lawyers to withhold witnesses’ contact information from their clients.
July 27, 2022
Congressmen Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) introduce H.R.8531, the Restoring Artist Protection (RAP) Act, in the United States House of Representatives. Like the “Rap Music on Trial’’ bill, the act is aimed at limiting the use of song lyrics as court evidence.
August 5, 2022
Young Thug is reindicted, with six new felony counts added to the two he faced from the initial YSL indictment. Willis says the charges stem from the raid of his Buckhead home following his May 9 arrest, as well as a previously undisclosed March 17 arrest. They include an additional count of participation in criminal street gang activity and three counts of violating the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, as well as one count each of possession of a firearm while committing a felony and possession of a machine gun.
August 18, 2022
Thug is denied bond for a third time. Following a document leak identifying a witness’s willingness to cooperate, that YSL associate is put into protective custody. Due to this and other concerns of witness safety, Fulton County prosecutor Don Geary petitions Judge Glainville to further restrict disclosure of evidence ahead of the trial.
August 29, 2022
District Attorney Fani Willis defends her use of Young Thug’s lyrics as evidence. “People can continue to be angry about it, [but] I have some legal advice: Don’t confess to crimes on rap lyrics if you do not want them used – or, at least, get out of my county,” she says at a press conference.
Week of December 5, 2022
A grand jury indicts Thug on four new misdemeanor counts stemming from his May 2021 arrest. Thug is charged with street racing, reckless driving, speeding, and a seatbelt violation. As of September 11, 2013, these charges have not been rolled into the YSL RICO indictment.
December 14, 2022
Gunna walks free from jail after entering an Alford Plea to a racketeering charge, taking a four-year suspended sentence and 500 hours of community service. By submitting an Alford Plea, a defendant can plead guilty to a charge while personally maintaining their innocence. Gunna states publicly that he has not given any information to the prosecutors and will not be aiding in their investigation.
Leaked court footage of Gunna accepting his plea deal shows him confirming Willis’s assertion that “YSL is a music label and a gang, and… members and associates of YSL have committed crimes in furtherance of the gang.” In the video, he also confirms the presence of hydrocodone, methamphetamine, and a firearm in the vehicle in which he and Thug were traveling on Septemer 24, 2017, and that the gun and drugs were not his own. Finally, he acknowledges the following statement: “I recognize, accept, and deeply regret that my talent and music indirectly furthered YSL the gang to the detriment of my community. YSL as a gang must end.”
By December 29, eight total defendants have accepted plea deals.
January 4, 2023
Jury selection begins in the trial of Young Thug, five days before the trial’s scheduled start date. By this point, only half of the originally charged 28 individuals — including Thug himself — are set to be tried, due to plea deals, failure to apprehend, or defendants being unable to retain attorneys.
Of the original pool of 600 potential jurors, more than 200 ask to be excused, claiming hardships. Since the trial is at this point expected to last for six to nine months, many potential jurors cite work commitments or childcare obligations as their reasons for wanting to be dismissed.
January 20, 2023
Thug is caught in an apparent “hand-to-hand drug exchange” with co-defendant Kahlieff Adams (a.k.a. Bobby Hunt) in the middle of a hearing, court documents state. Surveillance footage shows Hunt handing Thug an “item of contraband,” after which the rapper hides his hand under the table.
February 17, 2023
ABC News Studios announces Rap Trap: Hip-Hop on Trial, a documentary focusing on the trials of Young Thug and Gunna. The film addresses DA Willis’s contention that the rappers’ lyrics over the years demonstrate a pattern of criminality. The film premieres the following week.
April 4, 2023
A prospective juror is detained for five hours after she’s caught recording the courtroom proceedings. She claim that she didn’t know she wasn’t allowed to film, but Judge Glanville admonishes her: “I went through a very long and arduous process of telling people what they could not do and you violated that.”
April 20, 2023
Anastasios Manettas, the defense attorney representing Miles Farley, is arrested before the start of a hearing when officers find “contraband” prescription medication on his person during a courtroom checkpoint search.
April 27, 2023
Reps. Johnson and Bowman reintroduce their RAP Act in the U.S. House. (Their previous effort stagnated after a referral to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security in November.)
May 5, 2023
Unfoonk, who was released from jail after taking a plea deal, is arrested when police find a gun in his car.
May 11, 2023
After experiencing chest pain before a scheduled hearing, Young Thug is transferred from Cobb County Jail to Grady Hospital in Atlanta. After an evaluation, he is released from the hospital and returns to court the next day.
June 2, 2023
Gunna releases his first single of the year, “bread & butter.” In it, he addresses rampant rumors that he has “snitched” on the rest of his co-defendants, reasserting that he is not cooperating with the state.
June 5, 2023
Unfoonk is sentenced to nine years in prison for violating his probation.
June 16, 2023
Gunna shares a Gift & a Curse, the first album he’s released since his May 2022 arrest.
July 21, 2023
Young Thug is denied bond for a fourth time, following an appeal from his attorney. Steel argues that Thug has been working, and that his 14-plus months in the Cobb County jail cell have “caused physical harm to Mr. Williams,” citing the kidney problems that previously led to his hospitalization. Judge Glanville maintains, however, that Thug poses a significant witness intimidation risk.
August 14, 2023
Donald Trump and 18 of his alleged allies — including ex-New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Kanye West’s former publicist — are indicted on Georgia RICO charges, with Fani Willis leading the prosecution. The charges stem from their efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election results.
August 24, 2023
Hours before Trump surrenders to authorities in Atlanta — producing a mug shot that is already being used to sell YG and Green Day merch — he hires Steve Sadow, who helped Gunna reach his plea agreement in the YSL RICO case, to join his defense team.
September 3, 2023
Brian Steel asks that YSL co-defendant Cordarious Dorsey be severed from the RICO trial after footage emerges of Dorsey making bizarre gestures in the courtroom.
September 7, 2023
Dorsey is convicted of murdering Xavier Turner in 2020, a charge unrelated to the YSL RICO trial.