More than 18 months after Atlanta prosecutors charged Young Thug and 26 other men with conspiracy to violate Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and more in a sweeping indictment, the jury trial of Thug and his five remaining co-defendants began Monday morning. Much like its preliminary process, the trial’s opening statements got off to a rocky start, with multiple interruptions along the way.
Fulton County Chief Deputy District Attorney Adriane Love began her remarks with a quote from “The Law of the Jungle,” a poem from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, introducing a metaphor for the YSL crew as a “pack” and Young Thug, its alleged leader, as a “wolf.” But before she could cap off the comparison with the poem’s concluding stanza, objections from the defense began rolling in.
Chief among them was a motion for mistrial by Young Thug’s attorney Brian Steel, based on the claim that Love had shown jurors evidence that presiding judge Ural Glanville had explicitly excluded from the case, as well as information that had not been properly presented to the defense before the hearing. Judge Glanville called for the jury to leave the courtroom briefly but ended up keeping them out for more than an hour while he heard more rigorous objections from Steel and other defense attorneys to Love’s opening presentation. He ultimately denied Steel’s motion but admonished Love for her failure to follow court procedure.
Elsewhere, Love was met with objections for “burden shifting” — placing the burden of proof on the defense when it in fact lies with the prosecution — and with arguing outside the limits of an opening statement, where arguments can only be presented in a specific format (i.e “the evidence will show”).
Love continued her statement after the court’s long recess (including an hour-long lunch break), citing specific lyrics from Young Thug’s songs as overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy (as Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had in her initial indictment). Speaking to the jury, however, she made the distinction that her office — and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department, in their investigation — had first “chased the murders, as the evidence will show, and in the process… just found the lyrics.”
The hearing continued following Love’s opening statement, with Judge Glanville giving defense attorneys the opportunity to enter opening statements of their own. Watch Law&Crime Network’s live coverage of the hearing below.