Young Thug's Lawyers File Motion To Keep His Lyrics Out Of RICO Trial
By Tony M. Centeno
November 30, 2022
Young Thug's legal team is doing everything in their power to ensure the artist gets a fair trial in January.
According to a report AllHipHop published on Tuesday, November 29, lawyers representing the Grammy award-winning rapper filed a motion to prevent prosecutors from entering songs, lyrics, music videos and "social media poetry" as evidence. Young Thug, born Jeffrey Williams, is set to go to trial on January 9, 2023 along with Gunna and other YSL members who were all indicted on charges of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The defense claims using the rapper's music and other content would be “character assassination.”
“The admission and use of these lyrics/poetry/artistry against [Young Thug] in his upcoming trial would be a Constitutional violation and an abuse of discretion, too prejudicial and unconstitutional,” Thugger's lawyers argued. “Moreover, using these lyrics/poetry/artistry/speech against [Young Thug] is racist and discriminatory because the jury will be so poisoned and prejudiced by these lyrics/poetry/artistry/speech.”
“[Young Thug] has the absolute right, like all persons in America, to exercise lawful speech/expression,” they continued. “Therefore, these lyrics/poetry/words/speech/artistry must be excluded from the Indictment and excluded from all testimony and evidence presented in trial. Further, any videos, photographs, posts or like images that deal with these lyrics/words/speech/poetry/artistry must also be excluded from trial. Said videos et al. are protected speech/expression.”
The Young Stoner Life founder has been behind bars since May. Young Thug and other YSL members were taken into custody following a 56-count indictment that came down from the District Attorney's Office in Fulton County, Georgia. He was later hit with more felony charges after police raided his home in Atlanta. Gunna, who was also named in the indictment, turned himself in not long after his YSL brethren were apprehended. Thug and Gunna have both tried to make bail multiple times but have been denied each time. During a recent hearing, the prosecution tried to delay the trial to March but the judge denied their request.
“The biggest driver that I see is that I’ve no-bonded most all the people in this trial, and they deserve to have a right to go to trial,” Judge Glanville said according to 11Alive.
Jury selection for Young Thug's trial begins on January 5, 2023. The trial is expected to last for six to nine months. The latest motion comes after California Governor Gavin Newsome signed a new bill into law that makes it harder for prosecutors to use song lyrics from a defendant as evidence in a trial. It also echoes the ongoing campaign within the music industry to protect Black art and ensure the First Amendment rights of all artists.