Prosecutors want to use Young Thug’s music against him in court

Prosecutors want to use Young Thug’s music against him in court

Federal prosecutors seem set to portray Young Thug as a key figure in a sprawling criminal operation, and they’re relying heavily on his music to do so.

The rapper, real name Jeffrey Williams, was one of 28 members or associates of the alleged Young Slime Life “criminal street gang” arrested Monday, May 9, following a grand jury indictment of 56 counts (fellow rapper Gunna, real name Sergio Giovanni Kitchens, was among others arrested and charged). Williams, whom prosecutors have identified as one of the founders of YSL, has been charged with two counts — violating the RICO Act and participating in criminal street gang activity — and under those umbrellas are a handful of serious charges.

The indictment contains allegations that Williams was in possession of stolen weapons that he possessed with intent to distribute methamphetamine, hydrocodone and marijuana. Inasmuch as Williams was allegedly a key figure within YSL, prosecutors have charged two associates (Christian Eppinger and Antonio Sumlin) with conspiracy to commit murder ‘by discussing how to obtain permission to’ Slime’, aka Jeffrey Williams, to make a second attempt on the murder” of Atlanta rapper YFN Lucci while incarcerated. The heaviest charge in the indictment against Williams dates back to 2015, when he is accused of renting a car that was “used in the commission of the murder of Donovan Thomas, Jr., a member of ‘a rival gang’.

Brian Steel, a lawyer for Williams, recounts rolling stoneMr. Williams has committed no violation of the law whatsoever. We will fight this case ethically, legally and zealously. Mr. Williams will be cleared. (Williams will make his first court appearance today, May 10.)

The exact nature of the evidence available to the government regarding these charges is not specified in the indictment. But in scanning the document, prosecutors appeared to rely heavily on social media posts and song lyrics to portray Williams as a violent gang figure. (Williams wasn’t the only person prosecutors used this tactic on; social media photos of other alleged YSL associates holding up gang signs and/or wearing red clothing — because YSL is allegedly associated to the Bloods – were strewn all over.)

In total, Young Thug’s lyrics to nine different songs were listed in the indictment, the oldest being 2014’s “Eww” and the most recent being “Ski”, the Young Thug/Gunna collaboration from the last year. Other lyrics in the indictment came from Young Thug’s 2018 collaboration with Nicki Minaj “Anybody” (“I never killed anyone but I had something to do with this body”); 2018’s “Just How It Is” (“Gave lawyer nearly two million, he’s dealing with all the murders”); and 2020’s “Take It to Trial” (“For the slimes, you know I kill, trial, I beat it twice, state, I’m undefeated like the feds came and ripped me off”).

In each case, prosecutors alleged that Williams’ words constituted “an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.” Social media posts by Williams and others have been tagged with the same allegation.

Using rappers’ lyrics against them in court has become a popular tactic among prosecutors, and it’s been used against everyone from successful artists to aspiring or part-time MCs. For example, in 2008, a New Jersey man named Vonte Skinner was convicted of attempted murder after prosecutors used a series of old sayings as evidence. The New Jersey Supreme Court later overturned that decision in 2014, and in a second trial a jury convicted Skinner of two counts of aggravated assault, but deadlocked on the attempted murder charge. murder. More importantly, many expect Florida rapper YNW Melly’s 2017 hit “Murder on My Mind” to be entered as evidence in his first-degree murder trial, even though the song was released a year and a half ago. before he was implicated in the shooting deaths of two of his associates.

One of the most infamous examples of this tactic involves the late rapper Drakeo the Ruler, who spent three years in prison as prosecutors tried to build a case against him for the 2016 murder of a man outside ‘a party. Drakeo – real name Darrel Caldwell – was not only acquitted, but investigators agreed early on that he was not responsible for the murder. Still, prosecutors pursued a case that argued the fatal shooting stemmed from Caldwell’s feud with another rapper named RJ; to do so, they introduced lyrics from Caldwell’s 2016 song, “Flex Freestyle,” to convince jurors that Caldwell had brought armed associates to the party to target RJ. Turns out RJ wasn’t even at the party where the fatal shooting happened.

“I didn’t even think they could do that,” Caldwell said. rolling stone in November 2021, shortly before his death. “I heard they did it before, but that was just the way they did it. How they used it against me. It didn’t make any sense. It was just crazy.

However, serious efforts have been made to limit the use of rap lyrics as evidence. Last year, New York lawmakers introduced the “Rap Music on Trial” bill, which would block prosecutors from using rap lyrics in court. In January, the bill received support from a number of hip-hop heavyweights, including Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Big Sean, Fat Joe and Killer Mike. Although the bill has passed through committees so far, it still needs to be passed by the state legislature.

“Our lyrics are a creative form of self-expression and entertainment – just like any other genre,” Fat Joe said. rolling stone at the time. “We want our words to be recognized as art rather than being weaponized for court convictions. I hope the Governor and all New York lawmakers will consider our letter, protect our artistic rights, and make the right decision to pass this bill.

#Prosecutors #Young #Thugs #music #court

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