Jury selected after almost 10 months for rapper Young Thug's trial on gang, racketeering charges

ATLANTA (AP) — Nearly 10 months after jury selection began, a panel of Georgia citizens was selected Wednesday for the trial of rapper Young Thug and several other people accused of participating in a criminal street gang responsible for violent crimes.

The Atlanta-based artist, who's given name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, and six others are now set to stand trial beginning Nov. 27 after prosecutors and defense attorneys chose 12 jurors and six alternates, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The trial is expected to last months.

The sprawling indictment returned in May included more than two dozen defendants. But eight — including rapper Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens — took plea deals and 12 others will be tried separately, the newspaper reported.

Jury selection for the trial began in January and faced numerous challenges that caused delays: getting defendants housed in different jails to court each day, contraband brought to court, and the arrests of a defense attorney and a courtroom deputy.

Young Thug achieved tremendous success after starting to rap as a teenager and serves as CEO of his own record label, Young Stoner Life, or YSL. Artists on his record label are considered part of the “Slime Family,” and a compilation album, “Slime Language 2,” rose to No. 1 on the charts in April 2021.

But prosecutors say YSL also stands for Young Slime Life, which they allege is an Atlanta-based violent street gang affiliated with the national Bloods gang and founded by Young Thug and two others in 2012. Prosecutors say people named in the indictment are responsible for violent crimes — including killings, shootings and carjackings — to collect money for the gang, burnish its reputation and expand its power and territory.

Young Thug is accused of racketeering conspiracy and participation in criminal street gang activity, as well as drug and gun charges.