Young Thug, whose real name is Jefferey Lamar Williams, was arrested on Monday as part of a raid on his home in Atlanta’s neighborhood of Buckhead. Prosecutors have alleged the record label Young Slime Life (YSL) founded by Young Thug was actually a street gang in which the 30-year-old Grammy Award-winning rapper was involved.
Williams, his protégé and YSL Records signee Gunna, and 26 other persons were also charged on Monday as part of a 56-count indictment, the most severe of which is conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Some of the other charges include armed robbery, aggravated assault, drugs, and murder.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, one of the most damning pieces of the prosecution’s argument is a clip that was posted to social media shortly after the 2015 shooting death of a reputed rival gang member. In the short video, Williams allegedly said people who “tell the God’s honest truth” in court “need to get (expletive) killed bro, from me and YSL.”
Prosecutors also say Young Thug gave two of his associates the permission to make a second attempt on the life of the currently incarcerated rapper YFN Lucci, who turned himself in to law enforcement in January 2021. The prosecution says it has proof that a bounty was placed on Lucci’s life, and Lucci did plead for house arrest, a request that was summarily denied.
Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Giavanni Kitchens, has also been charged in the February 2022 shooting of an Atlanta police officer. YSL was founded in 2012, and the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office alleges the criminal activity has been going throughout the whole decade.
Prosecutors will reportedly use the rap lyrics of Williams, Kitchens, and other YSL members as proof of “an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. District Attorney Fani Willis said at a press conference, “This issue’s been ruled on by the courts — I knew that that question was coming. I believe in the First Amendment, it’s one of our most precious rights. However, the first amendment does not protect people from prosecutors using it as evidence if it is such. In this case, we put it as overt and predicate acts within the RICO count, because we believe that’s exactly what it is.”
However, Young Thug’s attorney Brian Steel, vowed to vindicate his client. “I’ll tell you the response to any allegation is Mr. Williams committed no crime whatsoever,” he told WSB-TV and other press members, “and we will fight to my last drop of blood to clear him.” Young Thug is scheduled to appear before an Atlanta judge on Tuesday morning.