Days before the trial's Nov. 27 start date, as previously reported, Fulton County Judge Ural Glanville said that lyrics could be used as evidence. This decision came following months of criticism over the practice of criminalizing artistic expression, including in the form of a petition started by 300 Entertainment’s Kevin Liles and Atlantic Records' Julie Greenwald that has since topped 93,000 signatures.
Young Thug was among those accused in a 2022 indictment of violating the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act. That June, Thug spoke out in support of the petition in a video statement that aired during Summer Jam.
“This isn’t just about me or YSL,” Thug said at the time. “I always use my music as a form of artistic expression and now I see that Black artists and rappers don’t have that, you know, freedom. Everybody please sign the Protect Black Art petition and keep praying for us. I love you all.”
“An Alford plea in my case is the entry of a guilty plea to the one charge against me, which is in my best interest, while at the same time maintaining my innocence toward the same charge," Gunna said in December 2022. "I love and cherish my association with YSL music, and always will."
Below, see the full livestreams for each day of Young Thug's YSL RICO trial, as well as information on daily developments.
This story will be updated throughout the trial.
After an unsurprising delay, the first day of the trial began with opening statements. In response to the prosecution’s opening remarks, Young Thug’s attorney, Brian Steel, pointed to “intentional misconduct” as cause for a mistrial.
"Three weeks ago, you ordered the parties to share all of their displays and opening statement to the others so we don’t have to have these interruptions. I did that," Steel said. "The state shared with me four attachments. That’s all they had. That’s what I got."
The motion was denied.
Steel discussed Young Thug’s childhood and eventual connection with music on the second day of the trial. His admiration for 2Pac and Lil Wayne ultimately inspired him to start making his own music, with Jeffery Williams taking the stage name for which he’s now globally known. As Steel explained, and echoing past remarks from Thug’s sister, his chosen moniker has a personal meaning.
"It was his pact that if he could ever make it as a musical artist and help his family, himself, and as many others out of this endless cycle of hopelessness, he would be truly humbled under God," Steel said. "That's what T.H.U.G. means."
Also on Day 2, Gunna's Young Thug and Future-featuring "Pushin P" track was referenced.
"It means any circumstance you’re in, if you think positively about something, you can make it through," Steel told the court. "You’re pushing positivity."
The third day began with testimony from Mark Belknap, a detective from the Atlanta Police Department.