Young Thug’s racketeering and gang conspiracy trial has resumed in Atlanta, Georgia, after a delay of several weeks due to the stabbing of co-defendant Shannon Stillwell. Stillwell, whose charges include two counts of murder, was stabbed in Fulton County Jail on December 10, a fortnight after the trial got under way, and is expected to survive the attack. He’s in court today, too.
Young Thug faces numerous charges, mostly based on the allegation that he led the Young Slime Life (YSL) gang, with ties to the national Bloods organization. In opening arguments, Adriane Love, the chief deputy district attorney for Fulton County, told the jury that YSL “moved like a pack,” with Young Thug “as its head,” while seeking to dominate the Atlanta area. The defense countered the YSL is simply a record label whose artists adhere to the conventions of rap music, presenting entertaining accounts of criminal life that its practitioners do not in fact carry out.
Thug’s lawyer, Brian Steel, has said his client has “committed no crime whatsoever.” He added in opening arguments that his music tells a rags-to-riches story, from “depression, despair, hopelessness, and helplessness” to wealth and acclaim. He alleged that Thug was now being exploited by the true criminals who would testify against him.
The judge has allowed prosecutors to submit song lyrics as evidence, a controversial legal method that analysts have discredited. Follow coverage below, via Law & Crime.