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Young Thug Trial Begins After Dramatic Delays

The state plans to call more than 700 witnesses in the trial of Jeffrey Williams. Arvin Temkar/ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

On Nov. 1, the jury for the trial of Jeffery Lamar Williams, more commonly known as Young Thug, was selected after a nearly 10-month selection process. Williams was originally indicted in May 2022 for conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act  (RICO), along with 26 other defendants. Williams is accused of being the founder of YSL (Young Slime Life), an alleged Atlanta-based street gang. Some of the counts that Williams has been indicted for include killings, shootings and carjackings. 

This trial had the longest jury selection in Georgia history. William’s fame and the publicity on the trial made it hard to find impartial jurors. In fact, the selection process included arrests, disruptions, and even charges. First, a prospective juror was arrested in April after filming the proceedings in court. Later that month, one of the defendants had to be removed from the courtroom after many suspected he was under the influence of marijuana. Just 24 hours later, an attorney representing one of the YSL defendants was arrested on charges of battery of law enforcement officers, possession, obstruction, and disruption of court. 

Because of the murder charges that YSL has been accused of, the prosecution wishes to bring lyrics into court to back up their claims against Williams. In particular, they wish to bring in the lyric, “I never killed anyone, but I got something to do with that body. I get all types of cash. I’m a general.” The use of the term “general” would also back up the RICO charges, as it could show the position of leadership Williams allegedly held in YSL.

This has sparked a debate over whether these lyrics should be considered freedom of speech. The defense claims that music is art, and therefore must be separated from reality. On Nov. 9, the judge found that these lyrics were admissible, a development that will inevitably affect this case greatly. 

Williams’ lawyer and former Paideia parent Keith Adams says, “The most interesting part about this case has been representing a man who is not charged for something he has done, but rather for the actions of other people.”

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Sawyer Brown
Sawyer Brown, Staff Writer

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