Young Thug's Trial is underway with the jury seated today (Wed. Nov.8) listening in as prosecutors focus on rap lyrics evidence admissibility. Birth name Jerry Williams is facing several organized-crime charges in ATL. Trial is scheduled to start November 27.
Fulton County Chief Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville was set to hear motions as to whether lyrics from hip-hop songs can be used against the rapper last week. Instead Judge Glanville seated the jury that has been on hold for the last 9 months; making it the longest jury selection in Georgia history.
Young Thug is facing eight criminal charges under a federal law that was originally enacted to fight organized crime. Georgia is one of 33 states that has its own RICO law.
“If you decide to admit your crimes over a beat, I’m going to use it,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has said. “I’m not targeting anyone. You do not get to commit crimes in my county, and then get to decide to brag on it, which you do that for a form of intimidation and to further the gain and to not be held responsible.
Prosecutors allege Williams and his co-defendants are members of the Young Slime Life (YSL) gang, while defense attorneys argue YSL is simply the name of a record label, Young Stoner Life.
Can't forget Young Thug co-wrote the Childish Gambino hit “This is America,” which is a commentary on violence and systemic racism in the U.S. The song made history in 2019 as the first hip-hop track to win the song of the year Grammy. Artists from all over used the song as an anthem to speak to corruption and injustice in Nigeria, Malaysia and Australia and abroad.
Defense attorneys in the case plan to have several experts testify that rap lyrics are negatively interpreted by most Americans because of racial bias.
"There's a strong legal test of when a lyric can be used as evidence," Georgia State College of Law professor Mo Ivory said.
Lawyers for Young Thug have an expert, who has done extensive research on race and the criminal justice system, to testify. Prosecutors insist the defense's argument against using lyrics is "ridiculous,".