Young Thug denied bond again in RICO case as jury selection enters 8th month

ByDeena Zaru ABCNews logo
Friday, July 21, 2023
Jury selection in Young Thug trial interrupted amid allegations of drug smuggling
In a court filing obtained by ABC News, prosecutors accused Young Thug and his co-defendant of engaging in a "hand-to-hand drug transaction."

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- Rapper Young Thug was denied bond for a fourth time on Friday during a hearing in Atlanta as he awaits trial on gang-related charges stemming from a sweeping RICO indictment in Fulton County, Georgia.

The rapper's attorney, Brian Steel, argued during the hearing that his client is not a flight risk and said that he has been dealing with health issues since his arrest on May 9, 2022. The rapper was taken to the hospital during a court hearing in May, according to ABC affiliate in Atlanta WSB-TV. His attorney, Brian Steel, declined to comment on the rapper's condition when asked by ABC News.

The video in the player above is from a previous report.

Judge Ural Glanville said that he believes the rapper's release would pose a threat to the community and said that he is concerned about witness intimidation.

ABC News has reached out to Steel for further comment.

After filing the fourth motion for bond on April 24, Steel told ABC News in a phone interview that his client does not pose a risk and should be released as he awaits trial.

"Mr. Williams is not a risk to commit a crime and he's not a risk to flee the jurisdiction and that's what bond is about," Steel said.

In the motion for bond Steel claimed that his client gets limited exercise or exposure to sunlight and has not been able to eat nutritious food and has been "sleep deprived," because he is mandated to wake up at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. on the days he is in court and is "fighting to pay attention to the goings on in his case."

Steel told ABC News that these conditions have hindered his client's ability to prepare for his trial.

The Grammy-winning rapper was denied bond three times last year after he was arrested in May 2022 and charged with eight counts.

Williams was initially charged with one count each of conspiring to violate the state's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and participating in criminal street gang activity, and was later charged with an additional count of participating in street gang activity, three counts of violating the Georgia controlled substances act, possession of a firearm while committing a felony and possession of a machine gun.

"This indictment is significant because it targets 28 people who decided to become involved in a criminal street gang and really do havoc in our community," Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, whose office is prosecuting this case, said in a May 10, 2022 press conference announcing the indictment.

"That havoc includes crimes of violence, crimes of theft, crimes involving drugs," she added.

Young Thug pleaded not guilty on all eight counts and is set to face trial along with 9 other co-defendants.

"Mr. Williams has committed no violation of law, whatsoever," Steel told ABC News on May 10, 2022, after the charges were announced by the Fulton County District Attorney's office.

Young Thug was among 28 individuals named in the indictment who are allegedly associated with the Atlanta-based Young Slime Life (YSL) - a gang that prosecutors allege Young Thug founded in 2012. But YSL, which is also the acronym for "Young Stoner Life," is the name of the rapper's label - an imprint of 300 Entertainment. The label is not named in the indictment.

Jury selection began on January 4 with 14 defendants, including Young Thug, after several individuals named in the indictment took plea deals and two were not arrested.

Since then, four more individuals were severed from the indictment, according to WSB-TV, and ten remain.

After more than seven months since jury selection began, Judge Ural Glanville completed the process of examining jurors for hardship on Thursday and has begun questioning nearly 750 prospective jurors, according to WSB-TV.