The YSL trial involving Young Thug and 14 other defendants is already becoming one of the most talked about and biggest court cases in pop culture history for many reasons. It involves one of the biggest entertainers in music at the height of his career, and it’s bringing up a heated debate on the use of rap lyrics in legal proceedings. But people are equally drawn to this case because of the wild and bizarre moments that have nabbed headlines over the last few months.
In May 2022, Young Thug and Gunna were arrested alongside 28 other people and charged in a 56-count Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act indictment (RICO) indictment. Over a period of several months, Gunna and other associates charged in the case accepted a plea deal, which released them from prison and trial. The initial court proceeding for the federal racketeering case began on Jan. 4 with jury selection, and there have already been several loud outbursts, disruptions, and arrests. The wildest part is that the trial hasn’t officially started yet.
Below is an ongoing timeline documenting the biggest moments from the courtroom so far. This story will be updated as new events occur.
The process of jury selection in the YSL RICO trial began on Jan. 4, 2023 at a courthouse in Fulton County. The process was established to narrow down the jury pool to 12 jurors and alternates who will sit for the duration of the trial.
Things took an interesting turn just days into the trial’s jury selection process when Chief Judge Ural Glanville recited the lyrics to Young Thug’s 2016 song “Slime Shit.” “Hey, this that slime shit, hey/YSL shit, hey/Killin’ 12 shit, hey/Fuck a jail shit, hey,” the judge dryly read for the courtroom. “Cookin’ white brick, hey, hey/I’m not new to this, hey, I’m so true to this, hey I done put a whole slime on a hunnid licks, hey, hey,” the judge read out loud. The reading came after the judge listed a series of Georgia laws Young Thug and defendants allegedly broke under the RICO Act.
On Dec. 15, 2022 rapper Gunna was released from jail after he entered a plea deal in relation to the RICO case. Nearly a month after his release, Gunna broke his silence, posting a photo on Instagram. In the pic, Gunna was sitting on a couch in a living room. The caption read: “Niggas acting like they switching to a side, but it’s only one side.” The caption also included the hashtags #YSLtheLabel (in reference to Young Stoner Life beings labeled a street gang) and #FreeThug&Yak (for Young Thug and Yak Gotti).
Shortly after the jury selection process began, a court hearing was delayed when Kahlieff Adams, Young Thug’s co-defendant in the RICO trial, was caught handing Young Thug contraband. Video of the incident was captured showing Adams walking up to Young Thug with a concealed item. When a sheriff’s deputy in the courtroom noticed the exchange, he immediately seized the item. According to court documents filed after the incident, the deputies stated the concealed item was Percocet. Deputies also searched Adams, finding Percorcet, marijuana, tobacco, and other contraband “wrapped in plastic and food seasonings to mask the odor.”
Court was delayed for the day with court documents describing the incident as an “illegal act of possession and distribution, respectively, of contraband inside the Fulton County Courthouse.” Meanwhile, Adams was escorted to a nearby hospital after it was discovered that he ingested other contraband in an effort to hide evidence.
Teombre Calland, Adams’ attorney told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “These allegations are simply that: mere statements made by the State in an effort to thwart the lengthiness of the jury selection process.” Keith Adams, Young Thug’s attorney also commented on the situation, suggesting it was a deflection to the trial at hand. “We’re disappointed because it’s a distraction. You know, Jeffery’s in there. He’s fighting for his life,” the attorney said. “The last thing that he wants to do is engage in any sort of behavior that would jeopardize our chances to trial or cast a bad light on him in a courtroom with four cameras and two different TV cameras.”
In February, an interrogation video involving YSL Woody was leaked on social media and quickly went viral. The footage, which was originally submitted into discovery for the trial, shows Woody sitting in an interrogation room with law enforcement while discussing an alleged murder plot on rapper YFN Lucci at the request of Young Thug. Young Thug and YFN Lucci have had a suspected beef since 2017. Toward the end of the video, YSL Woody asked for leniency in his situation and expressed concern for his safety if word of his cooperation got back to other people.
On Feb. 22, Gina Bernard, the attorney representing defendant Jayden Myrick in the trial, filed a motion to declare a mistrial, citing the leaked YSL Woody tape. According to Bernard, her client’s right to a fair trial was violated when the footage was leaked online. Bernard stated Myrick’s Sixth Amendment right—which states that people are entitled to “an impartial jury”—were in question.
After video of YSL Woody’s interrogation was leaked online, Glanville, the Fulton County judge presiding over the RICO trial, ordered an official investigation into the source of the leaked footage of YSL Woody. Glanville also reminded the courtroom that certain evidence that is introduced into court should remain confidential. “It affects everyone’s right to a fair trial,” he said. “I don’t know who did this but if this pertains to you, please amend your ways. You’re playing a very dangerous game with your six-digit bar number.”
On April 3, a potential juror identified as juror 1004 was sentenced to three days in jail for recording a video during court proceedings one month earlier, which is a violation of the Fulton County Courthouse’s policies. The female juror was caught filming on March 17. Deputies immediately confiscated her phone and discovered the recorded video in a deleted folder. When she was questioned, she said that she was unaware of the rules as it was her first time serving jury duty.
On April 17, attorneys and defendants gathered to hear motions presented from both sides. During the hearing, Justin Hill, a defense attorney for defendant Damone Blalock, took the stand, where he used the colloquial phrase, “It’s cap.” “I will start by saying this assertion that I did not mention before…,” the lawyer began before the judge interjected. “Don’t worry about that, OK,” Judge Glanville said, “Because I’d have to do it anyway. So, don’t even worry about that.” Hill then responded, “It’s cap, to be honest.” Hill later told Complex in a phone interview that he used the phrase when referring to information presented by another attorney that wasn’t true. He also said, “I don’t necessarily apologize for what I said. But I will say in hindsight, if I had known that it was going to get this big, I probably wouldn’t have said it.”
Video taken inside the Fulton County Courthouse on April 19 showed a loud and chaotic scene unraveling between a defendant in the case and a court officer. In the video, Young Thug is seen looking around with a confused expression on his face. Though the defendant involved in the incident is not seen on camera, his screams can be heard from outside of the courtroom. Of the incident, defense attorney Justin Hill told Complex, “There was an incident where we were in court, proceedings were going as usual and out of nowhere one of the officers interrupted the proceedings and wanted to take one of the clients back. I’m not exactly sure what the purpose was or what the intent of that was, but they took one of the clients back and then from that point it just kind of got a little bit chaotic.”
Anastasios Manettas, the defense attorney who represents defendant Miles Farley in the case, was arrested in court on April 20 for allegedly carrying prescription medication into the courtroom. When deputies discovered the bottle of medication on him, Manettas allegedly threw his phone at one of the officers. He was subsequently arrested and charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, obstruction and disrupting court proceedings, and possession of pills not in their original container. In a press statement, Manettas said, “These deputies, they seem to treat us, for lack of a better word, like criminals for no apparent reason.” In light of Manettas’ arrest, Farley was granted bond.