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Young Thug trial – updates: Lawyer’s YSL trial performance goes viral

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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.

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Last week, Young Thug’s lawyer 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”. His courtroom performance has since gone viral on social media.

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Young Thug’s lawyer goes viral for trial performance

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.

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His courtroom performance has since gone viral on social media.

Rachel Sharp4 December 2023 11:40

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

Kelly Rissman4 December 2023 11:00

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Who has testified so far?

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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.

Kelly Rissman4 December 2023 07:00

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Confused about the terms in the trial? We can help

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:

Kelly Rissman4 December 2023 03:00

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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.”

Kelly Rissman3 December 2023 23:00

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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.

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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…

Kelly Rissman3 December 2023 19:00

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ICYMI: Testimony from Mellissa Rosser over 2013 carjacking incident

Kelly Rissman3 December 2023 15:00

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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.

Kelly Rissman3 December 2023 11:00

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What does ‘SLATT’ mean?

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The prosecution and some law enforcement witnesses have mentioned “SLATT.” The indictment says that it is an abbreviation for “Slime Love All the Time.”

Atlanta Police Department detective Mark Belknap, a witness for the prosecution, told jurors that “SLATT” is an identifier of the gang YSL, and can often be used in tattoos, graffiti or on social media.

Kelly Rissman3 December 2023 07:00

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Why was Bleach anime referenced at the trial?

In her opening statement, defence attorney Angela D’Williams, who represents defendant Rodalius Ryan, referenced the anime called Bleach.

“This reminds me of an anime named Bleach,” she said, before describing that the storyline of the “Bounts,” who are “villains of the whole thing,” takes place only in season four and five. After those seasons, they aren’t mentioned, Ms D’Williams said.

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“Why don’t you hear about these important characters? Because they’re filler characters,” she continued. “Me and Rodalius, we’re filler characters. We’re not integral to the story.” The attorney was trying to downplay her client’s alleged involvement: “They just drag him out of prison to jail to make this bigger than it has to be.”

Mr Ryan is only charged with one count, the same racketeering charge that every defendant is facing. He is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted for murder.

Kelly Rissman3 December 2023 03:00

Source: Independent

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