What to know as rapper Young Thug’s RICO trial begins : NPR

0 17

Rapper Young Thug is accused of helping found a violent street gang.

Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Rapper Young Thug is accused of helping found a violent street gang.

Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Jeffery Lamar Williams, known professionally as Young Thug, will go on trial on Monday. The 31-year-old Atlanta rapper, along with fellow rapper Sergio Kitchens, known professionally as Gunna, and dozens of others, are accused of helping found a violent street gang known as Young Slime Life, or YSL .

In May, authorities arrested and charged Williams with conspiracy to violate the Georgia RICO Act and participating in a criminal street gang. the 88 page indictment, presented in Fulton County, Georgia, includes references to lyrics found in Williams’ music. The indictment also includes a list of 181 acts, dating back to 2013.

The high-profile arrest of Williams, who now faces eight separate charges, is part of a growing trend of criminalizing hip hop artists under RICO acts, a measure designed to crack down on organized crime, such as mafia Under these laws, authorities can charge various people in someone’s circle, from a rapper, to their entourage, and other members of their crew, with gang-related activity if at least one person is connected to criminal activity.

The trial also calls into question the use of lyrics to accuse musicians of crimes. In July, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., introduced a bill in the House to protect artists from having their lyrics used against theminspired by Williams’ arrest.

Jury selection for the trial against Williams, who has pleaded not guilty to all eight charges, began last week. Several high-profile artists, including Lil Wayne and Rich Homie Quan, may be called to the witness stand during the trial.

“Mr. Williams has committed no crime,” Brian Steel, his attorney, he told ABC News. “We will fight this case ethically, legally and vigorously. Mr. Williams will be cleared.”

Williams won a Grammy in 2019 for co-writing the song “This is America” ​​with Childish Gambino. Three of his songs — including “Way 2 Sexy,” with rappers Future and Drake, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Leave A Reply