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Young Thug trial witness awkwardly mistakes defendant’s brother for attorney: Live

Young Thug trial witness awkwardly mistakes defendant’s brother for attorney: Live

The hotly-anticipated trial of the rapper Young Thug is underway in a courtroom in Atlanta, Georgia, following almost a year of delays.

In May 2022, Young Thug, real name Jeffery Williams, was arrested and charged in a sprawling RICO indictment along with 27 other defendants.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis – who is using the same law to prosecute Donald Trump in his Georgia election interference case – accused the suspects of being part of a criminal street gang named YSL or “Young Slime Life.”

According to prosecutors, the gang is responsible for a series of violent crimes, including murders, shootings, carjackings and racketeering.

Young Thug has denied the accusations and insisted that YSL is simply Young Thug’s record label – Young Stoner Life.

After several defendants took plea deals or had their cases severed, the Grammy Award-winning rapper and five others are finally on trial.

Drama erupted in the courtroom on Wednesday when a juror informed the judge that she saw herself on a livestream during a recess. Despite fears of a mistrial, the court will resume tomorrow.

Key points

Wednesday 6 December 2023 21:30 , Kelly Rissman

Despite the drama, court will resume session tomorrow

After the judge asked every juror whether they overheard the one juror discussing her concern with the sergeant. The judge encouraged jurors to keep off of social media apps to avoid any coverage of the trial. “Any apps, any news feeds, come off of those,” he said.

The court will start at 10am tomorrow and go until about 12:30pm.

Wednesday 6 December 2023 21:14 , Kelly Rissman

Other jurors speak to the judge

The judge asked all the other jurors if they heard the first juror discussing “anything about the media”?

Wednesday 6 December 2023 20:46 , Kelly Rissman

More juror drama

Within the last 30 minutes, “you shared a video on your phone with” a sergeant, right? The judge asked before asking how she came across the video.

“I saw myself on the camera above us here,” and she asked where else she could be seen, including the viewing room. She was “concerned” after finding a video online that showed her on a live feed “in contravention of the court’s order,” as the judge put it.

Wednesday 6 December 2023 20:00 , Kelly Rissman

Radclif Henry testifies

Mr Henry is a patrol officer, who was dispatched to Grant Park after the call about the shooting. He approached someone who matched the description as a “Black male wearing all black” and the person went running. While he was chasing him, the suspect threw the firearm on the ground and then the officer picked it up and “made it safe.”

Officer Henry said he detained them and asked why he was running; he didn’t respond because “he was tired,” he said.

The officer said the gun came back as stolen.

Wednesday 6 December 2023 19:38 , Kelly Rissman

Sharon Latners takes the stand

Ms Latners works for Atlanta’s 911 communication center.

The prosecution played three 911s call from May 25, 2018.

During cross-examination, Mr Matthews emphasised that there were no descriptions of or details about the shooter from the callers. He also pointed out that the shootings took place at three different locations.

Wednesday 6 December 2023 19:15 , Kelly Rissman

Witnesses refuse to refer to Cleveland Ave as a “poor” area

Earlier today, Mr McKesey refused to agree with Mr Steel when he asked whether the area was destitute because he didn’t want to disrespect those in the area.

Mr Thomas similarly refused to classify the area as poor, when Mr Adams asked, but characterised it as a high crime area.

“You’re well-versed enough to say that it’s a high-crime area or that it’s a gang area but you can’t say whether it’s a low-income area or not?” Mr Adams said.

Wednesday 6 December 2023 19:01 , Kelly Rissman

The next witness takes the stand: Dwayne Thomas

Mr Thomas works at the APD. He described the Chevron gas station as being known for gang activity and narcotics sales.

He is also recounting the incident in which Young Thug’s brother, Quantavious Grier, was detained in September 2020. Mr Thomas said a Taurus firearm was recovered from Grier’s waistband, adding that the firearm was stolen from Clayton County. The officer was shown the gun and confirmed it was the same. He said he also found marijuana under the car.

During cross-examination, Mr Adams, Mr Williams’ attorney, asked the officer about the older man waving a gun around, and how Mr Grier took the gun from him and put it in his waistband. Mr Thomas also testified that he didn’t know who the weed belonged to.

Wednesday 6 December 2023 18:20 , Kelly Rissman

Awkward moment in the courtroom

Wednesday 6 December 2023 17:30 , Kelly Rissman

Court on break

The court is on break for lunch until 1pm.

This morning, the state called up Stephen McKesey, an APD investigator, who spoke about one of the listed “overt acts” in the indictment involving Young Thug’s brother.

Wednesday 6 December 2023 17:00 , Kelly Rissman

Who is Quantavious Grier?

Mr Grier, who is known as Unfoonk, is the brother of Young Thug. He is also listed under the record label YSL.

Although he took a plea deal in the sprawling RICO case, his since violated those terms, official determined, meaning he has to serve nine years and six months in prison.

Judge Glanvilled said in June, according to 11Alive: “The issues that I find aggravating in this particular circumstance are several. You got arrested with a gun six months of you being placed on probation. I agree with the state all you had to do is just complete your probation and do what you are supposed to do instead of riding around with a gun.”

Wednesday 6 December 2023 16:32 , Kelly Rissman

Cross-examination

The attorney for Mr Huey, Careton Matthews, asked the witness whether there was any “YSL graffiti” on the gas station building; Mr McKesey said he didn’t see any.

The lawyer also pointed out that the person with the rifle in the red sedan was not arrested, his weapon was not taken, and there was no mention that that person was affiliated with a gang. He also added that the officer didn’t know why that person had blood on his shirt.

Mr Matthews asked, “You referenced an attempted crime in your report, not a completed crime?” He was hung up on whether Mr McKesey had seen an “aggravated assault,” which the officer said he had described in his report because someone had been “brandishing” a weapon while saying he wanted to shoot others.

Brian Steel, Mr Williams’s attorney, asked whether any of the people he saw on that day were in this courtroom, which he said they were not. He specifically asked if Mr Williams was at the gas station on September 5, 2020; Mr McKesey again said no. Mr Grier and Mr Williams are brothers.

Wednesday 6 December 2023 16:20 , Kelly Rissman

What do you know about the activity around 221 Cleveland Ave?

“There’s a lot of gang involvement in that area,” Mr McKesey said. When the prosecutor asked whether there was a particular gang in that area, the officer replied: “There is a known gang called YSL.”

Wednesday 6 December 2023 16:05 , Kelly Rissman

The prosecution calls up its first witness today: Stephen McKesey

Mr McKesey works for the APD.

He recounted a specific event on September 5, 2020 at 221 Cleveland Ave, a Chevron gas station that features a food mart, restaurant and income tax storefront. “It’s a known drug area with a lot of violence,” Mr McKesey said, adding that it's known for gang activity.

The officer was just stopping to get gas at this station and noticed a candlelight vigil nearby. “One particular vehicle got my attention:” a red sedan, he said. A man in the front seat of the vehicle was holding a rifle.

“All of a sudden, an older gentleman came out of the store, started cussing,” Mr McKesey said. “I’m gonna kill this motherf***er,” he recalled, adding the man had blood on his shirt. That’s when a white Malibu pulled in, with three people in it, including Quantavious Grier, who is Jeffery Williams’ older brother. The driver was wearing all black, the passenger was wearing a red hoodie, and the backseat passenger was wearing a stonewash jean jacket with a red cap, identified as Mr Grier.

The driver got out of the vehicle and “handed the old man the firearm” and then saw Mr Grier get out of the backseat of his car with a “gun in his hand.” Then, Mr Grier put the handgun in his waistband and went back to the car. The old man then rushed to the front of the door, went inside and then went back outside — “it seemed like he was under the influence” — and kept saying he was going to shoot “all these motherf***ers.”

In the meantime, Mr McKesey called his colleagues via radio.

The backseat passenger (Mr Grier) was detained as police searched for his handgun “for safety reasons,” and they found it in the front part of his waistband, Mr McKesey said. Authorities then searched the firearm in their system, and it came up as stolen, Mr McKesey said.

Wednesday 6 December 2023 15:23 , Kelly Rissman

Day 7 is about to begin

Young Thug is in court today wearing a matching off-white turtleneck and suit.

The judge scolded the attorneys — somewhat jokingly — that one day soon he hopes to start the day with the jury present, not an argument between lawyers.

Prosecutor Simone Hylton said “sorry” when she asked to approach the bench, to which the judge replied, “No you’re not.”

Wednesday 6 December 2023 15:00 , Kelly Rissman

Handy dandy trial dictionary to use while watching the trial

If you’re watching the Young Thug trial, you could be confused by some of the terminology thrown around by the attorneys.

The lawyers on both sides have mentioned anime references, novel acronyms, and even some new definitions for words you may know (see: “thug”).

Here is your guide to understanding the YSL trial terms.

YSL and Pushin P: A dictionary guide to the Young Thug trial

Wednesday 6 December 2023 14:46 , Kelly Rissman

Young Thug’s designer wolf sweater sells out

Just two days after Young Thug boasted an Amiri mohair sweater emblazoned with a wolf, it sold out.

Viewers sounding off online were quick to question whether the wolf image was meant as a jab at prosecutors, who mentioned the animal in opening statements last week.

Prosecutor Adriane Love began her opening on 27 November by quoting The Jungle Book: “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”

She used the quote to argue the state’s main point that Mr Williams is the ringleader of YSL, a “criminal street gang”. The defence has argued that YSL is simply a record label.

Wednesday 6 December 2023 12:00 , Kelly Rissman

The definition of the word ‘thug’ in question

Mr Steel, the attorney for Mr Williams, pointed out that his client had two major musical influences growing up: Lil Wayne and Tupac. Tupac famously defined “THUG LIFE” as standing for “The Hate You Give Little Infants F***s Everyone.”

“That was not what ‘thug’ meant to Jeffery,” Mr Steel said, offering up a different definition: “Truly Humble Under God.”

Wednesday 6 December 2023 09:00 , Kelly Rissman

Who is Young Thug?

Born in 1991 as Jeffrey Lamar Williams, Young Thug is an Atlanta-born rapper. He also goes by the name Slime.

After starting his career at the age of 19, he signed with Gucci Mane’s record label, and went on to become one of the most influential artists on the contemporary hip-hop and trap music scene.

His first two albums “So Much Fun”, in 2019, and “Punk”, in 2021, debuted at the top of the Billboard 200, as did his 2021 joint compilation album with Gunna, “Slime Language 2”.

Young Thug has also featured in multiple collaborations that have earned him several number one hits.

These include guest spots on Camila Cabello’s Havana in 2018, Travis Scott and MIA’s Franchise in 2020 and Drake and Future’s Way 2 Sexy in 2021, all of which topped the Billboard Hot 100.

He also co-wrote the hit song This Is America with Childish Gambino, real name Donald Glover, which became the first hip-hop track to win Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards in 2019.

Wednesday 6 December 2023 06:00 , Kelly Rissman

Young Thug trial viewers think he was sending a message with a designer wolf sweater

On Monday, Mr Williams arrived at court wearing an Amiri sweater emblazoned with a wolf, according to WSBTV. The sweater retails for $1,090 but is currently on sale for $595.

Viewers sounding off online were quick to question whether the wolf image was meant as a jab at prosecutors, who mentioned the animal in opening statements last week.

Prosecutor Adriane Love began her opening on 27 November by quoting The Jungle Book: “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”

Read the full story...

Young Thug trial viewers think he was sending a message with $1,090 wolf sweater

Wednesday 6 December 2023 03:00 , Kelly Rissman

Your guide to YSL trial lingo

The highly anticipated Young Thug trial is underway and both sides have already been throwing around terms that aren’t particularly common — or have different meanings, depending on who’s talking.

Some of the most viral moments from the trial so far have consisted of the unusual terminology and references being used — like “SLATT” or “pushin P.”

Here’s a guide to the most important - and perplexing - words and phrases so far:

Wednesday 6 December 2023 00:00 , Kelly Rissman

Who is Mariah the Scientist?

Mariah the Scientist is not only a singer-songwriter from Atlanta, but is also Young Thug’s girlfriend.

The pair made headlines recently when Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, released the song, “From a Man,” after she dropped “From a Woman.”

Mr Williams “is someone who supports and respects my vision wholeheartedly. There is a true balance in my femininity and his masculinity,” Mariah the Scientist said in October, according to Rolling Stone. “He’s the yang to my yin in every way.”

The couple also made headlines again this week after Mr Williams boasted a sweater featuring a wolf on it. Although some social media users thought he wore it as a jab to the prosecution — who called him the “head of the pack” of YSL and quoted The Jungle Book — Mariah the Scientist told WSBTV that wearing the sweater was a “pure coincidence.”

Tuesday 5 December 2023 23:00 , Kelly Rissman

WATCH: Viral moment from today’s testimony

Tuesday 5 December 2023 22:00 , Kelly Rissman

Court in recess for the day

The judge said that the next witness will likely talk a long time, so he is waiting until tomorrow to hear that testimony.

Judge Glanville said he anticipated a 10am start time.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 21:45 , Kelly Rissman

Edwin Garcia testifies

Mr Garcia is employed at the GBI in the forensic section.

The forensic scientist testified about marijuana that was sent to him in January 2023, which a defence attorney said Mr Bebee was arrested for allegedly possessing in 2020.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 21:30 , Kelly Rissman

Cross-examination of APD Officer Applewhaite gets testy

Tuesday 5 December 2023 21:12 , Kelly Rissman

Officer Jasmyn Hawkins Mogavero takes the stand

Ms Mogavero works for the APD. She said 151 Cleveland Ave, the gas station, is a “high crime area” in terms of “shootings and drugs.”

She is also testifying about Mr Bebee on May 9, 2020.

Mr Bebee took a plea deal last month, meaning only six defendants are on trial.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 21:01 , Kelly Rissman

Officer Ian Applewhaite testifies

The Atlanta police officer testified about going undercover at 151 Cleveland Ave, where Mr Bebee allegedly sold him $20 worth of weed.

Derontae Bebee agreed to a plea deal last month. He pleaded guilty to all counts against him.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 20:45 , Kelly Rissman

Young Thug trial viewers speculate he was sending a message with wolf sweater

The rapper, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, is in court in Fulton County, Georgia, fighting gang and racketeering charges in connection with what DA Fani Willis and prosecutors say is a violent street gang he co-founded called Young Slime Life (YSL). He and 27 defendants other are facing RICO charges and have each been individually charged with other violations. Mr Williams has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

On Monday, Mr Williams arrived at court wearing an Amiri sweater emblazoned with a wolf, according to WSBTV. The sweater retails for $1,090 but is currently on sale for $595.

Viewers sounding off online were quick to question whether the wolf image was meant as a jab at prosecutors, who mentioned the animal in opening statements last week.

Read the full story...

Young Thug trial viewers think he was sending a message with $1,090 wolf sweater

Tuesday 5 December 2023 20:15 , Kelly Rissman

ICYMI: What people are saying about Young Thug’s viral sweater

The rapper’s sweater, which featured a wolf, has been sending social media spinning.

“Young Thug is wearing a cartoon wolf on his shirt. Is he intentionally making fun of the state’s opening statement, which compared YSL to ‘a pack of wolves’ and called Thug the ‘leader of the pack,’” one X user wrote.

Another user wrote, “When you have expensive threads, you might as well risk a conviction to show the drip.”

Another remarked that similar to the Gwyneth Paltrow trial, “I tune into the #YoungThug trial in part for the fashion.”

Tuesday 5 December 2023 19:45 , Kelly Rissman

‘I love you’ whispered in courtroom

A clip of Young Thug that seems to show him mouthing “I love you” across the courtroom to his girlfriend, Mariah the Scientist, is going viral.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 19:25 , Kelly Rissman

The trial continues after lunch

Patrick Chepaitis took the stand. He used to work for the GBI, where he tested controlled substances, he testified.

A prosecutor asked Mr Chepaitis to describe the results of an analysis, which “confirmed the presence of cocaine,” he said.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 19:15 , Kelly Rissman

What does ‘pushin P’ mean?

Defence attorney Brian Steel pulled up a Powerpoint slide during his opening remarks showing a photo of his client, Mr Williams, flashing a hand sign. The indictment states that Mr Williams is flashing a “‘Bloods’ gang sign.” Mr Steel said the prosecution is arguing that his hand is in the shape of a “B.”

Mr Steel said that his client was holding up the letter “P” before referencing a song by Mr Williams and his codefendant Sergio Kitchens, aka Gunna, called “pushin P.” The lawyer translated the song to mean “pushing positivity.”

According to Mr Steel, “It means, any circumstance you’re in, if you think positively about something, you can make it through. You’re pushing positivity.”

The term has been represented online by the 🅿️ emoji and is understood to mean “keeping it real” or, according to Mr Kitchens on The Breakfast Club, it “could” mean keeping it “player.”

Tuesday 5 December 2023 19:00 , Kelly Rissman

Recap: What happened last week in the YSL trial?

The prosecution portrayed the rapper as the “head” of the so-called “criminal street gang” YSL (Young Slime Life), and used lyrics in its opening statement to support its case, but not without many delays and a fiery Judge Ural Glanville, who seemed upset with both sides on Monday.

The rapper, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, and 27 other defendants have been charged in a sweeping 65-count indictment. Mr Williams has been charged with eight counts, including possession of a firearm while committing a felony and possession of a machine gun. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

All defendants have been charged with racketeering. Prosecutors say YSL is a gang; the defence insists it is just a record label.

The trial began nearly an hour and a half behind schedule because a juror was late.

The prosecutor, Adriane Love, was finally able to begin her opening statements — but was stopped a few times with objections. Defence attorney Brian Steel made three objections to her opening statement, all of which were sustained.

Read the full story...

Young Thug’s YSL trial kicks off with scoldings, ‘wasted time’ and no tempo

Tuesday 5 December 2023 18:00 , Kelly Rissman

The court is on lunch break until 1.30pm

Three witnesses have testified today about three separate “overt acts” laid out in the indictment.

The trial started late today, as is quickly becoming par for the course in this case.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 17:42 , Kelly Rissman

Who is Mariah the Scientist?

Mariah the Scientist is not only a singer-songwriter from Atlanta, but is also Young Thug’s girlfriend.

The pair made headlines recently when Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, released the song, “From a Man,” after she dropped “From a Woman.”

Mr Williams “is someone who supports and respects my vision wholeheartedly. There is a true balance in my femininity and his masculinity,” Mariah the Scientist said in October, according to Rolling Stone. “He’s the yang to my yin in every way.”

The couple also made headlines again this week after Mr Williams boasted a sweater featuring a wolf on it. Although some social media users thought he wore it as a jab to the prosecution — who called him the “head of the pack” of YSL and quoted The Jungle Book — Mariah the Scientist told WSBTV that wearing the sweater was a “pure coincidence.”

Tuesday 5 December 2023 17:30 , Kelly Rissman

Sherrod Stancil takes the stand

Mr Stancil works for the APD.

He said on 21 January, 2020 at an Exxon gas station, he observed a “group of males quickly fleeing into the gas station.” He said four of them went inside. He then chatted with two of them; one of them had marijuana and was “detained without incident.”

Mr Bebee stayed inside while the third person came outside. Suspicious, Mr Stancil said he started talking to the fourth person, Mr Bebee. He went back inside, where he found “a small baggie containing half a baggie of crack cocaine,” he said, where “Mr Bebee” was.

Derontae Bebee is accused of possessing cocaine in the indictment. Mr Stancil said surveillance footage inside the gas station confirmed that Mr Bebee took the bag out of his boot. He was later detained.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 17:10 , Kelly Rissman

Josh Macenczak testifies

Mr Macenczak used to work at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

He was asked about testing certain drugs found. He found 31 grams of “bath salts,” he said.

He was cross-examined by Quamarvious Nichols’ attorney, Nicole Westmoreland. She asked him about the handling of the evidence before the GBI. She then outlined each of his findings.

He said he received five bags: one bag of a few tablets--which was untested-- another bag with one tablet--which was untested--and three bags with a “solid substance” in each--one was found to be bath salts. She pointed out that the reporting officer stated that he seized “two bags” of this substance.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 16:47 , Kelly Rissman

Sgt Cornelius takes the stand

Jonathan Cornelius, who used to serve on APD, testified on Tuesday. He discussed his involvement in the K9 unit.

He discussed 23 October, 2018 when a dog alerted finding narcotics near a “gray Chevy Sonic” car in a parking lot during an open-air search. The dog was scratching at the driver’s side door handle, Sgt Cornelius said.

That is the same day that the indictment states that Quamvarious Nichols was found with MDMA. Another witness testified about the finding yesterday.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 16:30 , Kelly Rissman

Judge asks to speak to someone from Law & Crime

Judge Glanville called up a representative from Law & Crime along with a member of the defence team to speak to him privately.

It’s unclear what they are talking about. The chat comes after the network’s watermark was seen on screenshots circulated online. But an executive producer took to X to clear the network’s name.

“For the record (because I’ve had so many comments) it was not Law&Crime’s camera in the YSL courtroom today,” Cathy Russon wrote. “We had no control over anything that was shown. We took our stream down as soon as we were alerted that some jurors were inadvertently shown.”

When The Independent called the Office of the Court Administrator, a representative said she “didn’t know” which outlet was responsible for airing the live feed.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 16:15 , Kelly Rissman

Young Thug arrives in suit and tie

Mr Williams showed up in court on Tuesday in a dark suit and tie following a social media frenzy over Monday’s outfit: a designer sweater featuring a wolf.

Social media users were speculating whether the rapper had decided to boast the wolf sweater as a jab to the prosecution, who had accused him of being the “head of the pack.” The sweater costs nearly $1,200, according to the maker’s website.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 16:00 , Kelly Rissman

The trial is once again starting late

In case you missed it, here’s what happened in the YSL trial yesterday.

The prosecution wanted to tack on more witnesses, which the defence took issue with.

Officer Antonio Skeete, who testified about an allegedly stolen gun taken during a burglary in 2013. Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffrey Williams, is accused of theft by receiving stolen property, according to the indictment.

Officer Wellington Clarke, who testified about his involvemnet in the investigation as a crime scene technician.

Sergeant Carlos Maldonado, who testified about a 2017 traffic stop that led to the arrest of Quamarvious Nichols, another defendant in this case. Mr Maldonado said he found substances suspected to be MDMA and Xanax after searching the vehicle. Mr Maldonado’s appearance as a witness on Monday was initially contested by the defence after they claimed they could not cross-examine him about the subject of his testimony ahead of time.

Sergeant Charles Ross, who testified about his investigations into the social media activity of Mr Nichols and his subsequent arrest of Mr Nichols in 2018. His body camera footage was played in court. Mr Ross also told the court he had knowledge of hand signs and graffiti tags that indicated association with YSL in the zone he patrolled for the Atlanta Police Department.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 15:33 , Kelly Rissman

Howls over the wolf sweater

Social media is buzzing over a designer wolf sweater donned by Young Thug at his trial in Georgia - days after prosecutors described him as the head of a wolf pack.

The rapper, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, is in court in Fulton County, Georgia, fighting gang and racketeering charges in connection with what DA Fani Willis and prosecutors say is a violent street gang he co-founded called Young Slime Life (YSL). He and 27 defendants other are facing RICO charges and have each been individually charged with other violations. Mr Williams has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

On Monday, Mr Williams arrived at court wearing an Amiri sweater emblazoned with a wolf, which retails for nearly $1,200.

Viewers sounding off online were quick to question whether the wolf image was meant as a jab at prosecutors, who mentioned the animal in opening statements last week.

Read the full story...

Tuesday 5 December 2023 15:00 , Kelly Rissman

ICYMI: A viral moment in the YSL trial

Mr Williams’ laywer told the court that the word “thug” means “truly humble under God”.

“He insisted everybody call him Young Thug… and that fit into the appearance of the gangster rap. But most people think about a thug as a criminal. But to Jeffrey, Thug had a different meaning,” he said.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 21:34 , Kelly Rissman

WATCH: Young Thug, YSL RICO Trial Day 5: Police take stand

ICYMI: Who testified on Monday to kick off the second week of Young Thug’s trial?

Tuesday 5 December 2023 14:00 , Katie Hawkinson

In case you missed it, here’s the recap of who testified on Monday, kicking off the second week of Young Thug’s trial:

Officer Antonio Skeete, who testified about an allegedly stolen gun taken during a burglary in 2013. Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffrey Williams, is accused of theft by receiving stolen property, according to the indictment.

Officer Wellington Clarke, who testified about his involvemnet in the investigation as a crime scene technician.

Sergeant Carlos Maldonado, who testified about a 2017 traffic stop that led to the arrest of Quamarvious Nichols, another defendant in this case. Mr Maldonado said he found substances suspected to be MDMA and Xanax after searching the vehicle. Mr Maldonado’s appearance as a witness on Monday was initially contested by the defence after they claimed they could not cross-examine him about the subject of his testimony ahead of time.

Sergeant Charles Ross, who testified about his investigations into the social media activity of Mr Nichols and his subsequent arrest of Mr Nichols in 2018. His body camera footage was played in court. Mr Ross also told the court he had knowledge of hand signs and graffiti tags that indicated association with YSL in the zone he patrolled for the Atlanta Police Department.

ICYMI: Prosecution, defense began week two of trial with spat over witness list

Tuesday 5 December 2023 13:00 , Katie Hawkinson

Young Thug’s defence team called on Judge Ural Glanville to stop prosecutors from calling certain witnesses. His attorneys claimed they were not given enough time to prepare over the weekend after the prosecution added additional witnesses on Sunday evening.

“Yesterday evening, for God’s sake,” Keith Adams, a member of the defence, said to Judge Ural Glanville.

The prosecution had an original list of 70 and sent a list of 17 additional people on Sunday evening, the defence said.

The prosecution said the defence had enough time and offered to bring certain witnesses to the defence on Monday to give them more time to cross-examine.

Judge Glanville said he was not included on any email exchanges about witnesses after Friday. He warned the prosecution that excluding witnesses would not be out of the question.

“Exclusion would not be a far-reaching remedy for me at this point,” Judge Glanville said. “We’ve spent 30 minutes on this issue that I can’t get back.”

“I don’t want to deal with it again,” he continued.

ICYMI: Young Thug’s court attire on Monday raised questions

Tuesday 5 December 2023 12:00 , Katie Hawkinson

The sweater Young Thug wore to court on Monday featured a design of a wolf on the front, which had some questioning whether the outfit choice was an intentional reference to the first day of the trial.

Young Thug in court on Monday, 4 December, wearing a sweater with a wolf design. (Law & Crime Trial Network)
Young Thug in court on Monday, 4 December, wearing a sweater with a wolf design. (Law & Crime Trial Network)

During opening statements last week, the prosecution referenced a wolf and claimed Young Thug is the “head of the pack.” Now, viewers on social media are speculating whether the choice references those comments.

Young Thug’s girlfriend, Mariah the Scientist, told reporter Michael Seiden the choice was “pure coincidence.”

Why is Young Thug on trial?

Tuesday 5 December 2023 11:00 , Kelly Rissman

Young Thug and the other YSL members named in the indictment are charged with conspiracy to violate Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

The act is similar to its federal counterpart, which is used to convict large-scale organisations such as the mafia.

According to the indictment, associates of YSL “conspired to associate together and with others for the common purposes of illegally obtaining money and property through a pattern of racketeering activity”.

It claims that YSL members were involved in murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, theft, drug dealing, carjacking, and witness intimidation.

Other activities include “the posting of messages, images, videos and songs, demonstrating allegiance to the enterprise and willingness to engage in violence on its behalf”.

Prosecutors claim they can show that some of the group’s lyrics are related to crimes that they are accused of committing.

Through these activities and more the gang aimed to “preserve, protect, and enhance the reputation, power and territory” of the enterprise, prosecutors said.

ICYMI: Young Thug defence lawyer went viral last week

Tuesday 5 December 2023 09:00 , Rachel Sharp

Last week, Young Thug’s lawyer Brian Steel explained the meaning behind several of the rapper’s lyrics – after prosecutors claimed the lyrics are central to the case.

This included claiming the word thug means “truly humble under God”.

“He insisted everybody call him Young Thug… and that fit into the appearance of the gangster rap. But most people think about a thug as a criminal. But to Jeffrey, Thug had a different meaning,” he said.

His courtroom performance has since gone viral on social media.

What to know about YSL as week two of the trial continues

Tuesday 5 December 2023 07:00 , Kelly Rissman

YSL is Young Thug’s own record label, Young Slime Life. Artists on his record label are considered part of the “Slime Family,” and a compilation album, “Slime Language 2,” rose to number one on the US charts in April 2021.

Its artists include Gunna and Lil Keed, though several contemporary artists, including Future, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, Lil Baby, and Travis Scott have also expressed allegiance to YSL without being contractually signed.

However, according to prosecutors, YSL is actually a “criminal street gang”, which started out in the Cleveland Avenue area of Atlanta and claims affiliation to the national Bloods gang.

According to the 88-page indictment, the members of YSL use “a variety of identifiers including colours, clothing, tattoos, and hand signs” to show their allegiance to the group.

The most predominant colours used by members of YSL are red for Bloods and green for Slime.

Defence attorneys meanwhile insist that YSL is just a music label.

How long was Young Thug incarcerated before the trial began?

Tuesday 5 December 2023 05:00 , Kelly Rissman

Young Thug has been in prison since his arrest in May 2022.

Earlier this month, a jury was finally selected after almost one year – with over 2,000 people having been summoned to possibly serve.

The trial, expected to last several months, could end up being the longest in Georgia’s history, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

ICYMI: State called contested witness Sergeant Carlos Maldonado to testify

Tuesday 5 December 2023 03:00 , Katie Hawkinson

The prosecution called Sergeant Carlos Maldonado with the Atlanta Police Department to the stand.

He testified about a 2017 traffic stop that led to the arrest of Quamarvious Nichols, a defendant in this case. Mr Maldonado said he found substances suspected to be MDMA and Xanax after searching the vehicle.

Mr Nichols is charged with posession of MDMA with intent to distribute, posession of a firearm by a felon, and participation in criminal street gang activity, according to the indictment.

Mr Maldonado told the defence he did not reference any gang activity in his report and did not arrest Mr Nichols in relation to any gang activity.

When the defence asked if he would have reported gang activity if he observed it, Mr Maldonado said he would have.

Mr Maldonado was one of the contested witnesses in the Monday morning dispute over the witness list.

The defence told Judge Ural Glanville they had the opportunity to cross-examine Mr Maldonado but their conversation did not cover the subject of his testimony today. The defence said they asked the prosecution to interview him again, but they offered a time on short notice during which a member of the defence team was not available.

ICYMI: Officer Morris Kandakai, who had a scuffle with another defendant earlier this year, took the stand

Tuesday 5 December 2023 02:00 , Katie Hawkinson

The prosecution called Officer Morris Kandakai to the stand. He worked for the Atlanta Police Department 2012-2015 and currently works for the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department.

He testified about a 15 July 2015 traffic stop involving defendants Trontavious Stephens and Shannon Stillwell. The incident is listed in the indictment. Mr Kandakai told prosecutors he found marijuana, a digital scale, a firearm, and prescribed hydrocodone. He said Mr Stephens attempted to claim the items.

Mr Stillwell’s attorney also cross-examined Mr Kandakai, who said he did not find any gang paraphernalia in the car. Mr Kandakai previously said he was not tasked with investigating gang activity but that he was aware of some activity in the area.

Mr Kandakai was suspended and placed on administrative duties in January following a scuffle with another defendant in this case, Rodalius Ryan, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Juror excused until at least Wednesday due to hospital stay

Tuesday 5 December 2023 01:00 , Katie Hawkinson

Judge Ural Glanville announced Monday morning that a juror was admitted to the hospital over the weekend. He excused the juror until Wednesday due to their illness.

Judge Glanville told Young Thug’s lawyers there are alternate jurors so the trial will move forward.

This isn’t the first time the jury has been a matter of discussion in the courtroom. On Wednesday, a media camera mistakenly panned across the jury as a witness made their way to the stand to testify. The footage showed parts of at least two jurors’ faces. Judge Glanville warned the media to be careful, but acknowledged the incident ”wasn’t intentional.”

Your guide to the YSL trial lingo

Tuesday 5 December 2023 00:00 , Katie Hawkinson

The first week of the trial was off to a rocky start, plagued by a motion for mistrial, frequent objections, numerous sidebars, and chaos after jurors’ faces were accidentally captured on camera.

As week two begins, things aren’t much better — Monday morning started off with a 30-minute spat between the defence and prosecution regarding the witness list.

But perhaps the most viral moments from the trial so far have consisted of the unusual terminology and references being used.

Here’s a guide to the most important - and perplexing - words and phrases so far:

Young Thug trial resumes with scuffle over YSL case witnesses – live updates

Who testified on Monday, kicking off week two of Young Thug's trial?

Monday 4 December 2023 23:00 , Katie Hawkinson

In case you missed it, here’s the recap of who testified on Monday, kicking off the second week of Young Thug’s trial:

Officer Antonio Skeete, who testified about an allegedly stolen gun taken during a burglary in 2013. Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffrey Williams, is accused of theft by receiving stolen property, according to the indictment.

Officer Wellington Clarke, who testified about his involvemnet in the investigation as a crime scene technician.

Sergeant Carlos Maldonado, who testified about a 2017 traffic stop that led to the arrest of Quamarvious Nichols, another defendant in this case. Mr Maldonado said he found substances suspected to be MDMA and Xanax after searching the vehicle. Mr Maldonado’s appearance as a witness on Monday was initially contested by the defence after they claimed they could not cross-examine him about the subject of his testimony ahead of time.

Sergeant Charles Ross, who testified about his investigations into the social media activity of Mr Nichols and his subsequent arrest of Mr Nichols in 2018. His body camera footage was played in court. Mr Ross also told the court he had knowledge of hand signs and graffiti tags that indicated association with YSL in the zone he patrolled for the Atlanta Police Department.

Court ends for the day

Monday 4 December 2023 22:24 , Katie Hawkinson

Court proceedings have finished for Monday, 4 December.

Young Thug’s trial is expected to continue Tuesday, 5 December around 10 AM local time.

Sergeant Charles Ross says he knew of signs that indicate YSL association but there were none at scene of arrest

Monday 4 December 2023 21:51 , Katie Hawkinson

Sergeant Charles Ross told the court he had knowledge of hand signs and graffiti tags that indicated association with YSL in the zone he patrolled for the Atlanta Police Department.

When the defence cross-examined him, Mr Ross said none of these signs were present at the scene of Quamarvious Nichols’ 2018 arrest, however.

Mr Ross told prosecutors Mr Nichols had posted the word “slime” on Instagram, which he said he had also seen graffitied.

This is relevant to the prosecution’s claim at the heart of this case that YSL is a violent street gang called Young Slime Life. The defense claims YSL is, instead, just the name of Young Thug’s record label: Young Stoner Life

Sergeant Charles Ross body camera footage played in court

Monday 4 December 2023 21:03 , Katie Hawkinson

Body camera footage from Sergeant Charles Ross’s encounter with co-defendant Quamarvious Nichols in October 2018 is playing in court.

The footage shows Mr Ross and fellow officers detaining — but not arresting — multiple people at the scene. Mr Nichols was the only one arrested.

Mr Ross said he launched an investigation after he saw a video of Mr Nichols holding a bag of apparent marijuana on Instagram earlier in the evening.

He then located and arrested Mr Nichols before searching the vehicles on the scene for marijuana, Mr Ross told the court earlier. Before the footage was played, Mr Ross said he found marijuana, containers consistent with intent to distribute, and firearms in one of the vehicles.

Mr Nichols is charged with posession of a firearm by a convicted felon, an act the prosecution claims furthered the alleged conspiracy by members of YSL, according to the indictment.

Sergeant Charles Ross takes witness stand

Monday 4 December 2023 20:17 , Katie Hawkinson

Sergeant Charles Ross with the Atlanta Police Department took to the witness stand Monday afternoon to discuss his investigations into the social media activity of one of Young Thug’s co-defendants.

Mr Ross said he knew co-defendant Quamarvious Nichols from his Instagram account, believed to belong to him because of images and videos of him posted to the page. Mr Ross said he launched an investigation after he saw a video of Mr Nichols holding a bag of apparent marijuana on the account in October 2018.

He then located and arrested Mr Nichols before searching the vehicles on the scene for marijuana, Mr Ross told the court. Mr Ross said he found marijuana, containers consistent with intent to distribute, and firearms in one of the vehicles.

Mr Nichols is charged with posession of a firearm by a convicted felon, an act the prosecution claims furthered the alleged conspiracy by members of YSL, according to the indictment.

Sergeant Carlos Maldonado tells defence he did not reference any gang activity in co-defendant arrest

Monday 4 December 2023 19:38 , Katie Hawkinson

Sergeant Carlos Maldonado, who arrested co-defendant Quamarvious Nichols in 2017, told the defence he did not reference any gang activity in his report and did not arrest Mr Nichols in relation to any gang activity.

When the defence asked if he would have reported gang activity if he observed it, Mr Maldonado said he would have.

The indictment states Mr Nichols is charged with criminal street gang activity alongside his drug possession and firearm posession charges from the 2017 traffic stop.

Young Thug’s court attire on Monday raises questions

Monday 4 December 2023 19:25 , Katie Hawkinson

Young Thug’s sweater, which features a design of a wolf on the front, has some questioning whether the outfit choice is an intentional reference to the first day of the trial.

Young Thug in court on Monday, 4 December, wearing a sweater with a wolf design. (Law & Crime Trial Network)
Young Thug in court on Monday, 4 December, wearing a sweater with a wolf design. (Law & Crime Trial Network)

During opening statements last week, the prosecution referenced a wolf and claimed Young Thug is the “head of the pack.” Now, viewers on social media are speculating whether the choice references those comments.

Young Thug’s girlfriend, Mariah the Scientist, told reporter Michael Seiden the choice was “pure coincidence.”

State called contested witness Sergeant Carlos Maldonado to stand

Monday 4 December 2023 19:17 , Katie Hawkinson

The prosecution called Sergeant Carlos Maldonado with the Atlanta Police Department to the stand.

He testified about a 2017 traffic stop that led to the arrest of Quamarvious Nichols, a defendant in this case. Mr Maldonado said he found substances suspected to be MDMA and Xanax after searching the vehicle.

Mr Nichols is charged with posession of MDMA with intent to distribute, posession of a firearm by a felon, and participation in criminal street gang activity, according to the indictment.

Mr Maldonado was one of the contested witnesses in the Monday morning dispute over the witness list.

The defence told Judge Ural Glanville they had the opportunity to cross-examine Mr Maldonado but their conversation did not cover the subject of his testimony today. The defence said they asked the prosecution to interview him again, but they offered a time on short notice during which a member of the defence team was not available.

Officer Morris Kandakai takes the stand

Monday 4 December 2023 16:33 , Katie Hawkinson

The prosecution called Officer Morris Kandakai to the stand. He worked for the Atlanta Police Department 2012-2015 and currently works for the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department.

He testified about a 15 July 2015 traffic stop involving defendants Trontavious Stephens and Shannon Stillwell. The incident is listed in the indictment. Mr Kandakai told prosecutors he found marijuana, a digital scale, a firearm, and prescribed hydrocodone. He said Mr Stephens attempted to claim the items.

Mr Stillwell’s attorney also cross-examined Mr Kandakai, who said he did not find any gang paraphernalia in the car. Mr Kandakai previously said he was not tasked with investigating gang activity but that he was aware of some activity in the area.

Mr Kandakai was suspended and placed on administrative duties in January following a scuffle with another defendant in this case, Rodalius Ryan, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Prosecution calls Officer Wellington Clarke to witness stand

Monday 4 December 2023 16:13 , Katie Hawkinson

Wellington Clarke is an officer with the Atlanta Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit.

He spoke to prosecutors about his time working as a crime scene technician.

Proseuction calls Officer Antonio Skeete to witness stand

Monday 4 December 2023 16:03 , Katie Hawkinson

Antonio Skeete is an officer with the Atlanta Police Department’s criminal investigation department, working in the special enforcement section on fugitives.

He has been with the department for nineteen years, Mr Skeete told the prosecution after taking the stand.

Mr Skeete testified about an allegedly stolen gun taken during a burglary in 2013. Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffrey Williams, is accused of theft by receiving stolen property, according to the indictment.

Conflict over this week’s witness list

Monday 4 December 2023 15:31 , Katie Hawkinson

Young Thug’s defence team is calling on the court to stop prosecutors from calling certain witnesses, claiming they were not given enough time to cross-examine over the weekend.

“Yesterday evening, for God’s sake,” Keith Adams, a member of the defence, said to Judge Ural Glanville.

The defence claims they did not have enough time to cross-examine witnesses. The prosecution had an original list of 70 and sent a list of 17 additional people on Sunday evening.

The prosecution said the defence had enough time and offered to bring certain witnesses to the defence on Monday to give them more time to cross-examine.

Judge Glanville said he was not included on any email exchanges about witnesses after Friday. He warned the prosecution that excluding witnesses would not be out of the question.

“Exclusion would not be a far-reaching remedy for me at this point,” Judge Glanville said. “We’ve spent 30 minutes on this issue that I can’t get back.”

“I don’t want to deal with it again,” he continued.

Juror excused for hospital stay

Monday 4 December 2023 15:09 , Katie Hawkinson

Monday’s proceedings began with an announcement from Judge Ural Glanville that a juror was admitted to the hospital over the weekend. Judge Glanville has excused the juror until Wednesday due to their illness.

Judge Glanville told Young Thug’s lawyers there are alternate jurors so the trial will continue at this time.

This isn’t the first time the jury has been a matter of discussion in the courtroom. On Wednesday, a media camera mistakenly panned across the jury as a witness made their way to the stand to testify. The footage showed parts of at least two jurors’ faces. Judge Glanville warned the media to be careful, but acknowledged the incident ”wasn’t intentional.”

Court resumes on Monday after three-day recess

Monday 4 December 2023 15:03 , Katie Hawkinson

Young Thug’s trial has resumed in Atlanta, Georgia, after a three-day recess.

Monday’s court session marks week two of the influential rapper’s trial for charges under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

Monday 4 December 2023 15:00 , Kelly Rissman

What charges are the defendants facing?

The YSL members named in the indictment are charged with conspiracy to violate Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

The act is similar to its federal counterpart, which is used to convict large-scale organisations such as the mafia.

According to the indictment, associates of YSL “conspired to associate together and with others for the common purposes of illegally obtaining money and property through a pattern of racketeering activity”.

It claims that YSL members were involved in murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, theft, drug dealing, carjacking, and witness intimidation.

Other activities include “the posting of messages, images, videos and songs, demonstrating allegiance to the enterprise and willingness to engage in violence on its behalf”.

Prosecutors claim they can show that some of the group’s lyrics are related to crimes that they are accused of committing.

Through these activities and more the gang aimed to “preserve, protect, and enhance the reputation, power and territory” of the enterprise, prosecutors said.

Young Thug’s lawyer goes viral for trial performance

Monday 4 December 2023 11:40 , Rachel Sharp

Last week, Young Thug’s lawyer Brian Steel explained the meaning behind several of the rapper’s lyrics – after prosecutors claimed the lyrics are central to the case.

This included claiming the word thug means “truly humble under God”.

“He insisted everybody call him Young Thug… and that fit into the appearance of the gangster rap. But most people think about a thug as a criminal. But to Jeffrey, Thug had a different meaning,” he said.

His courtroom performance has since gone viral on social media.

Monday 4 December 2023 11:00 , Kelly Rissman

ICYMI: Viral moment when Mr Williams’ attorney defines ‘thug’

Monday 4 December 2023 07:00 , Kelly Rissman

Who has testified so far?

The prosecution has called up seven witnesses to testify.

  1. Mark Belknap is a detective for APD. He testified about gang signs and gave background into his findings of YSL and their identifiers.

  2. Mellissa Rosser is a “house mom” of an adult entertainment club. She testified about a carjacking incident in 2013.

  3. Capt Reginald Pettis, of the APD, also testified about the same incident and the OnStar system that tracked the stolen vehicle to an apartment complex that he monitored.

  4. Sgt Jonathan Heeb is discussing an August 2013 incident involving Mr Stillwell and “the green store.”

  5. Lt Scott Jimenez also testified about the incident.

  6. Andrew Phillips testified about goods — a laptop, two guns and a blanket — that were stolen from his home; Mr Williams aka Young Thug is accused of committing the theft in the indictment. He has pleaded not guilty.

  7. Senior Patrol Officer Michael Monheim testified about the arrest of someone named Jeffery Williams.

Monday 4 December 2023 03:00 , Kelly Rissman

Confused about the terms in the trial? We can help

The rapper, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, is in court in Fulton County, Georgia, fighting gang and racketeering charges in connection with what prosecutors say is a violent street gang he co-founded called Young Slime Life (YSL). He and 27 defendants other are facing RICO charges and have each been individually charged with other violations. Mr Williams has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The first week of the trial was off to a rocky start, plagued by a motion for mistrial, frequent objections, numerous sidebars, and chaos after jurors’ faces were accidentally captured on camera.

But perhaps the most viral moments from the trial so far have consisted of the unusual terminology and references being used.

From “Pushin P” to “SLATT,” here’s a guide to the most important - and perplexing - words and phrases so far:

YSL and Pushin P: A dictionary guide to the Young Thug trial

Sunday 3 December 2023 23:00 , Kelly Rissman

What is RICO?

RICO stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which is a state law in Georgia based on the 1970 federal law, allowing the prosecution of alleged criminal organizations.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis explained at a press conference following the 2022 indictment: “RICO is a tool that allows a prosecutor’s office and law enforcement to tell the whole story. We use it as a tool so they can have all the information they need to make a wise decision.”

Donald Trump and his 18 codefendants were also charged under this Georgia statute.

Sunday 3 December 2023 19:00 , Kelly Rissman

Controversy after jurors’ faces caught on camera

During the third day of the trial on Wednesday, a camera mistakenly panned across the jury panel as a witness made their way to the stand to testify. Screenshots of the footage, in which parts of at least two of the jurors’ faces are shown, inevitably spread like wildfire online.

The incident prompted a lengthy delay of proceedings along with fears that a mistrial would ensue — after a grueling 11 months of jury selection, no less. But that didn’t happen.

Instead, Judge Ural Glanville instructed members of the media in the courtroom to stop filming the expert witness, an Atlanta Police detective, “due to some security issues” relating to the “inadvertent recording of some of our jurors in the front row.”

But still, the trial went on.

Read more to learn what happened next...

Young Thug trial jurors were exposed on video. The case is continuing anyway

Sunday 3 December 2023 15:00 , Kelly Rissman

ICYMI: Testimony from Mellissa Rosser over 2013 carjacking incident

Sunday 3 December 2023 11:00 , Kelly Rissman

What is a ‘Studio Gangster’?

“Studio Gangster” is a derogatory term, according to Detective Belknap.

Mr Belknap said the term is used when someone “takes on the persona” of being violent when entering the music studio, but may not be in real life. So, calling someone that is a “slur” and a “huge sign of disrespect” to those actually involved in a criminal gang, he explained.