Day three of the YSL RICO trial concluded on Wednesday, November 29, but not without renewed talk of a mistrial. As The Shade Room previously reported, rapper Young Thug and 27 others were arrested in Georgia in May 2022.
The group was subsequently charged with conspiracy and racketeering.
Since then, most defendants have severed from the case or taken plea deals, such as fellow rapper Gunna. However, Young Thug remains on trial with five codefendants as they maintain their innocence.
As The Shade Room previously reported, the YSL RICO trial commenced with opening statements on Monday, November 27. At the time, Rolling Stone revealed that the ten-month jury selection process yielded twelve jurors. Additionally, it was reported that nine are Black, nine are women, and three are men.
Fulton County District Attorney Adriane Love began opening statements by alleging that Young Stoner Life Records, Young Thug’s record label, is actually an “Atlanta-based street gang,” which is actually called Young Slime Life.
Furthermore, the state asserts that the alleged gang, led by Thug, partook in murder, drug, and firearm violations.
“YSL operated as a pack,” Love reportedly explained, per Rolling Stone. “…For 10 years and counting, the group calling itself Young Slime Life dominated the Cleveland Avenue community of Fulton County. They created a crater … that sucked in the youth, innocence and even the lives of some of its youngest members.”
Eventually, the state’s opening statements hit a hiccup after the defense revealed to Judge Ural Glanville that the state “presented information to the jury… that was not disclosed to the defense.”
The defense attorneys reportedly asked for a mistrial, although Judge Glanville rejected that request.
As The Shade Room previously reported, day two of the trial saw Young Thug’s attorney, Brian Steel, share his opening statements. Steel reportedly explained that Young Thug was “born into an environment, a community, a society that was filled with oppression, despair, hopelessness and helplessness.”
Additionally, the lawyer explained that as Young Thug, born Jeffery Williams, ventured into his music career, his name stage name, “Thug,” was crafted to stand for “Truly Humbled Under God.”
“If he could ever make it as a musical artist and help his family, himself and his many others out of this endless cycle of hopelessness, he would be truly humbled under God. That’s what thug means,” Steel explained in footage captured and shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, by legal reporter Meghann Cuniff.
From there, Steel reportedly linked Young Thug to fellow rapper Lil Wayne by explaining his teenage idolization of the legendary rapper. Additionally, the lawyer said that Young Thug’s alleged 2015 beef with Lil Wayne was nothing more than a social media “battle.”
“You will learn that this is part of being involved in hip hop and rap. There’s all these battles going across social media. It generates interest, much like the NFL has rivalries with the Saints and Falcons,” Steel told the courtroom in footage captured by Cuniff and shared on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Additionally, Jewel Wicker, a journalist in the courtroom, added that Steel alleged that Young Thug’s use of “Slime” was inspired by Lil Wayne.
Lastly, Steel even argued that Thug’s alleged gang affiliation is misperceived.
According to Fox 5 Atlanta, day three of the trial commenced with witness Detective Mark Belknap taking the stand. Belknap was brought in on behalf of the prosecution. Additionally, the detective is reportedly an “expert in criminal street gang recognition, investigation, identification and practices.”
As Belknap gave a general explanation of alleged gang activities and “goals,” a mishap took place. Trial cameras, which broadcast via live-streamed through various media outlets, portrayed the faces of some of the jurors, per 11Alive.
Although the streams were immediately interrupted, the mishap prompted Judge Glanville to call the attorneys into chambers. According to a tweet shared by Cathy Russon, an executive producer for Law & Crime, “murmurs” then ensued of a potential mistrial being declared.
According to Cuniff, screenshots of the jurors’ faces had gone viral through various media outlets.
As the court reconvened, Judge Glanville continued with proceedings. However, the judge instructed cameras not to film the jurors or Belknap, per 11Alive. Then, as day four of the trial commenced on Thursday, November 30, Glanville addressed the matter again, responding to the concerns of the defense lawyers regarding the witnesses potentially being compromised.
Despite the lawyer’s concern, Glanville declared he would not make an “issue” out of the mishap and draw further public “attention” to what occurred. Instead, he again instructed court cameras not to show any images of the jurors moving forward.