Judge Ural Glanville gave prosecutors the green light to use Young Thug‘s lyrics in the YSL RICO trial. The ruling came down on Thursday (Nov. 9), per WSB-TV, with certain restrictions. Here’s what happens next.
Prosecutors can use 17 sets of admitted rap lyrics as evidence in the trial. The ruling reportedly applies to Young Thug and his alleged associates’ cases. However, prosecutors’ use is restricted and subject to objections and preliminary screenings. Prosecutors have to lay a foundation with evidence they present in correlation to the lyrics.
“Anything that the Court may rule upon this time will be subject to a complete foundation being met and maybe subject to other additional objections,” the judge said.
WSB-TV said Young Thug’s lawyers and prosecutors argued their sides the day before Judge Glanville’s ruling. The lawyers argued Young Thug’s lyrics are art and protected. Attorneys say using the lyrics of the award-winning musician in the trial would be “racist and discriminatory” and lead to “character assassination among the jury.”
Meanwhile, prosecutors say crimes listed in the indictment and Thugger’s lyrics align.
“Your honor, someone can look at that indictment and say one thing for sure, that’s not fantasy, people are dead and murdered, and a gang exists.”
Watch a clip of the ruling, by Alive11, below for the judge’s full statements.
Co-Defendant’s Lawyer Reacts To Ruling About Young Thug’s Lyrics
Fulton County prosecutors have positioned Young Thug’s lyrics as evidence from the start, per Rolling Stone. In the initial 56-count indictment, they cited several of Young Thug’s lyrics in songs like “Slime Shit” (2016) and “Anybody” ft. Nicki Minaj (2018).
“I never killed anybody but I got something to do with that body. I got the streets on my back, carry it like I’m moving a body. Told him to shoot 100 rounds like he trying to move it up outta here,” Young Thug raps on “Anybody.”
They also reportedly cited lines from his 2019 song “Just How It Is.” One lyric included, “Gave the lawyer close to two mill, he handles all the killings.”
Rolling Stone spoke to the attorney for YSL co-defendant Yak Gotti following the judge’s ruling.
“While we respect Judge Glanville and the dedication and effort he clearly spends on his rulings, we believe that he got this one wrong,” Douglas Weinstein said. “The rap lyrics being conditionally admitted in this case bear no connection to the crimes charged. It is a reflection of the state of race in our country that only rap artists are put in a position to have to defend their art in court. To call the use of these lyrics anything other than racist would be to sugar coat it. It’s time for legislation to raise the bar for introduction of the work of these artists in criminal cases.”
Young Thug’s trial is finally underway after a record-breaking jury selection process that lasted ten months. The rapper has been in Cobb’s County jail since May 2022 on racketeering conspiracy charges.