Hip Hop

DA Files New Charges Against Young Thug Ahead Of YSL Rico Trial

Young Thug
Young Thug in court

The Fulton County District Attorney’s office has slapped Young Thug with new traffic offense charges ahead of his YSL racketeering trial coming in January.

On Tuesday, Fox 5 Atlanta reported that the rapper is now facing charges of street racing, reckless driving, and speeding. It’s unclear if these charges are separate from the Racketeering case, but prosecutors say that Young Thug drove his car at 120 mph while on Interstate 85 near the I-75 exit back in May 2021.

In response, Young Thug’s lawyer, Brian Steel, expressed surprise at the charges noting that the D.A. had been looking at a different charge. The attorney reiterated his client was innocent and said he was being victimized.

“As of two weeks ago, that case was being resolved with a seatbelt violation,” the lawyer said. “Today, now it’s indicted in the Fulton County Superior Court. He is being wronged by our system.”

Thug is currently held at Cobb County jail awaiting trial on racketeering charges along with fellow rapper Gunna and 26 others. The rapper is also facing eight separate charges for guns police found in his home on his arrest in May this year.

Young Thug will remain in custody until his trial, which is set to begin on January 9, 2023, despite several failed attempts by the D.A. to delay the trial by almost three months. While they wait, all of the defendants are being held in jail without bond.

As for the trial, the D.A. claims that Young Thug, Gunna, and others are part of a criminal street gang- Young Slime Life or YSL, which is responsible for hundreds of crimes committed from 2012 to 2022.

Young Thug Gunna
Young Thug and Gunna in court virtually on November 17, 2022

Despite the charges, Young Thug has pleaded his innocence and insisted that the racketeering charges are an attack on rap music and black art. Just recently, the rapper also commented on the rising violence in Atlanta after two teenagers were killed in what police say was a gang-related incident.

“The effects of gun violence on individuals and communities in Atlanta runs deep with many more families having to mourn their loved ones. We have to make our community safe. I vow to use my influence to help stop the violence in Atlanta, and around the world,” Young Thug had said.

Thug’s lawyer also addressed criticisms that he wasn’t the best messenger for the anti-violence campaign.

“Mr. Williams is not the head of any criminal street gang, he’s not involved in any type of criminal activity that involves any type of violence,” Steel said.

In the meantime, ahead of the upcoming trial, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis filed a motion requesting that judge ban video cameras in the courtroom to protect the identity of witnesses during the trial.

“Several witnesses have expressed safety concerns to the State and they are concerned about the safety of themselves and their families should they choose to testify,” the motion read. “The State is concerned that video recordings of witnesses’ and victims’ faces could endanger these individuals’ safety,” Willis’ motion said.

She added that the stated that some witnesses may be afraid to take the stand if they know that they would be on video tesitifying against the accused rappers, fearing their safety would be in jeopardy.

Both Young Thug and Gunna are held without bond pending their trial next year.