Young Thug, Gunna, and 26 others are charged with racketeering for allegedly co-founding a violent street gang that committed many murders, shootings, and thefts over about a decade and publicized its activities in songs and on social media, according to a lengthy indictment.
Monday’s 88-page indictment in Fulton County, Georgia, cites various music videos as proof and accuses suspected gang members of attacking other famous rap artists.
“It does not matter what your renown or reputation is, if you conduct crimes in Fulton County, Georgia, you will become a target and a focus of this district attorney’s office, and we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” Fulton county district attorney Fani Willis said Tuesday during a news conference announcing the accusations.
Young Thug, the whose given name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, co-wrote the single This is American with Childish Gambino, which made history in 2019 by becoming the first hip-hop music to win the Grammy for song of the year. Prosecutors in Fulton County assert that he and two others created Young Slime Life, a violent criminal street gang also known as YSL and associated with the national Bloods gang, in late 2012.
He was arrested at his house in Buckhead, an elite Atlanta area, on Monday. In the Fulton county jail, he was being held on counts of conspiracy to violate Georgia’s Rico Act and membership in a criminal street gang.
Young Thug’s counsel, Brian Steel, informed media outlets that Mr. Williams did not commit any crime and that he would “fight until his last drop of blood” to clear him.
Rapper Gunna, whose real identity is Sergio Kitchens, and aspiring rapper Christian Eppinger, who was in jail and is suspected of killing an Atlanta police officer six times in February, were also named in the indictment. As of Tuesday afternoon, Gunna, who is suspected of conspiring to violate the state’s Rico Act, was not arrested, according to Fulton county sheriff Pat Labat.
In addition to specific allegations, the indictment contains a comprehensive list of 181 activities that, according to prosecutors, were carried out beginning in 2013 as part of the purported Rico conspiracy to advance the gang’s objectives.
According to the indictment, Williams rented an Infiniti vehicle in 2015 that five alleged gang members used to murder a rival gang member.
According to the charge, Williams and Kitchens intended to sell methamphetamine, hydrocodone, and marijuana in 2017 and were involved in a traffic stop in 2018 where one of the vehicles contained many guns with large-capacity magazines, including an AK-47.
It quotes lyrics from numerous Williams music videos, including one from 2018 in which he claims, “I’ve never killed someone, but I’ve got something to do with that body” and “I commanded them to fire a hundred bullets.”
Willis stated that she appreciates the First Amendment right to free speech, but believes that the song lyrics listed in the indictment constitute “overt and predicate activities” that support the Rico accusation.
“The First Amendment does not shield individuals against prosecutors utilizing it as evidence,” she stated.
The indictment further alleges that gang members attempted to murder rapper YFN Lucci, whose given name is Rayshawn Bennett, by repeatedly stabbing him with a shank in the Fulton County jail. A year earlier, YFN Lucci was among a dozen individuals charged in another Rico-related indictment in Fulton County.
The indictment also alleges that a member of the gang fired upon a bus carrying rapper Lil Wayne in 2015.
Willis stated that she intends to seek the maximum penalty for the indictment’s defendants. At least some of them might face life in prison as a result.
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