Younger Thug, Gunna, faces RICO fees over Georgia’s full-scale indictment

Young Thug co-founded a violent street gang that committed multiple murders, shootings and car thefts over about a decade and publicized its activities in songs and on social media, prosecutors allege in a sprawling indictment alleging him, rapper Gunna and 26 others on racketeering charges accuses.

The 88-page indictment, filed Monday in Fulton County, Georgia, cites lyrics from several music videos as evidence and accuses alleged gang members of committing violent crimes to raise money for the gang, promote its reputation, and its power and to strengthen their territory.

The Atlanta-based rapper, 30, real name Jeffery Lamar Williams, was one of 28 defendants named in the indictment, along with fellow rapper Gunna, 28, real name Sergio Giavanni Kitchens. Both are accused of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

“It doesn’t matter how well known you are, how famous you are, if you come to Fulton County, Georgia and commit crimes … 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 at a news conference announcing the charges.

Young Thug was arrested Monday at his home in Buckhead, an upscale neighborhood north of downtown Atlanta. He was being held in the Fulton County Jail on conspiracy charges of violating Georgia’s RICO statute and participating in a criminal street gang.

The conspiracy charges against the defendants date from 2013 and the gang charges from 2018, the jail transcript said.

More:Young Thug is suing homeowners after a bag containing more than $100,000 in valuables was stolen

Young Thug co-wrote the hit “This is America” ​​with Childish Gambino and made history by becoming the first hip-hop track to win Grammy Song of the Year in 2019. Fulton County prosecutors say that in late 2012 he was dating two others who formed Young Slime Life, a violent criminal street gang commonly known as YSL, which is affiliated with the national Bloods gang.

Young Thug’s attorney, Brian Steel, pleaded his client’s innocence to USA TODAY in a statement: “Mr. Williams has not broken any law. We will fight this case ethically, legally and zealously. Mr. Williams is acquitted.”

the rapper He is scheduled to appear in court for the first time on Tuesday.

USA TODAY has reached out to Gunna representatives and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office for comments and more details.

Along with specific charges, the indictment contains a lengthy list of 181 acts that prosecutors say were committed as part of a conspiracy to advance the gang’s interests. These include appearing in videos with inflammatory song lyrics, appearing in social media photos with gang symbols, possessing drugs with intent to distribute, aggravated assault and murder.

Willis said she respects the First Amendment’s right to free speech, but believes the lyrics cited in the indictment are “obvious and predicative acts” that support the RICO indictment.

“The First Amendment does not protect people from prosecutors using them as evidence when they do,” she said.

Young Thug performed

The indictment also alleges members of the gang tried to kill rapper YFN Lucci, whose first name is Rayshawn Bennett, by “stabbing and stabbing” him with a shaft in the Fulton County Jail. YFN Lucci was among a dozen people charged in another gang-related RICO indictment a year ago in Fulton County.

The indictment also says it was an alleged gang member who shot a bus carrying rapper Lil Wayne in 2015.

YSL operates primarily in southeast Atlanta and the Cleveland Avenue area, but is expanding its operations into the surrounding metro area, prosecutors say. Their members can be identified by their green or red bandanas – red for Bloods and green for Slime – and clothing with the letters “YSL” or the word “Slime,” the indictment says.

This isn’t the first time Young Thug has faced legal troubles.

In 2018, the rapper was arrested at his own birthday party, which doubled as the listening session for his compilation Slime Language, after the Los Angeles Police Department found a gun in his car. LAPD accounting records showed the rapper was arrested just before midnight and held until the early hours of the morning, with $35,000 bail being posted.

Young Thug was previously arrested in September 2017 on gun and drug charges following a traffic stop near Atlanta.

With his squeaky, high-pitched rap vocals, Young Thug is best known for his hits like “Stoner” and “Best Friend.” In a hyper-masculine hip-hop scene, Thug refused to conform to traditional gender conventions. Wearing a dress on the cover of his 2016 mixtape Jeffery, he said there was no such thing as gender in a Calvin Klein campaign.

Gunna, who is signed to the Thug’s Young Stoner Life record label, hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart this year with “DS4Ever”. The Grammy-nominated artist is known for promoting the viral catchphrase “Pushin P,” a term regularly used on social media by athletes like LeBron James and Dez Bryant, as well as professional sports teams like the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Nuggets, and Toronto Raptors will . The rapper said the term was based on “keeping it real.”

Young Thug’s record label was called YSL Records or Young Stoner Life Records. The label bills its artists as part of the “Slime Family,” and a compilation album called “Slime Language 2” reached #1 on the charts in April 2021.

Featuring: Charles Trepany and Maeve McDermott, USA TODAY; Kate Brumback, Sudhin Thanawala and Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press