Gunna Denied Release From Jail for Third Time, Judge Argues ‘Same Concerns’ Over Witness Intimidation

Last month, Gunna filed his third bond motion. At the time, his lawyers argued there was “no evidence” in support of holding Gunna until trial.

This is a photo of Gunna.

Image via Getty/Johnny Nunez

This is a photo of Gunna.

UPDATED 10/14, 4:02 p.m. ET: Gunna’s legal team has accused federal prosecutors of misleading the court.

A day after gunna was denied bond for a third time, his attorneys filed a motion pushing back on witness tampering claims leveled against the YSL rapper. Prosecutors said they were in possession of a text exchange in which an individual “offered to murder” someone on Gunna’s behalf. The rapper’s lawyers obtained the text messages in question, and argued that the conversation had “nothing to do with witness intimidation or obstruction.”

Gunna’s attorneys stated the text messages were sent between two people, neither of whom were Gunna. They also pointed out that the exchange took place in June 14, 2020, about two years before Gunna—legal name Sergio Giavanni Kitchens—was indicted on RICO charges.

The text in question allegedly read: “Tell gunna happy c day it’s all love [100 and heart emojis] I’ll still a whack some Bout him.”

“For the State to aver that this text is an offer to commit murder (or to threaten or injure a witness in a case that was still two years in the future) aptly illustrates the problem of a hearing by ambush and proffer,” the motion read in part. “Respectfully, at each of the bond hearings before the Court, the State has relied on proffers of evidence—never disclosed to Kitchens prior to a hearing—and none of the proffers has panned out. Kitchens prays that the Court grant his motion to supplement the record with the actual date and content of the text message.”

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Gunna has once again been denied pre-trial release.

Thursday, per a report fromBillboard, Judge Ural Glanville declined to release Gunna from jail ahead of a trial that’s currently slated to begin in January. This marks the third such rejection, with the stated reasoning behind Thursday’s refusal summarized by the judge as being rooted in the “same concerns” asserted in the prior two rejections (namely, claims of potential witness intimidation).

This is Gunna's third bond hearing, but the judge has says he is open to reconsidering bond for the rapper in the future. The YSL Rico trial for all 28 defendants is still scheduled for Jan. 9 as of today.

— Jewel Wicker (@jewelwickershow) October 13, 2022

Gunna’s legal team, however, has argued (including in their client’s third bond motion in September) that prosecutors have “no evidence” to support holding him.

As previously reported, Gunna was first arrested in connection with the larger YSL indictment in May. In court documents filed last month and viewed by Complex, Gunna’s legal team again argued their client should be released, specifically highlighting the fact that the “only serious overt act” against the artist had previously been dropped.

“Sergio Kitchens (Gunna) is very hopeful that the Court will now recognize that the discovery provided by the prosecution fails to show his pretrial release poses a significant risk of danger to any person or the community or poses a significant threat to witnesses, and accordingly grants a reasonable bond,” Steven Sadow, Gunna’s co-lead counsel, said in a statement to Complex at the time.

Meanwhile, the Protect Black Art petition—launched in June by Kevin Liles and Julie Greenwald—is nearing its goal of 75,000 signatures. The petition takes aim at the “shameful and un-American practice” of criminalizing creative expression and has received public support from Young Thug, who is also currently behind bars in connection with the YSL indictment.

Last week, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis was reported to have asked the court to delay the trial’s kickoff to late March of next year.

Reached by Complex for comment on this latest development, co-lead counsel Sadow stated on the artist’s behalf, “Although we must respect the Court’s ruling, we know it is wrong. Gunna is innocent of the charge against him and should not be in jail pending trial. The prosecution has produced no evidence that supports the denial of bond. Keeping him detained is a miscarriage justice.”

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