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Atlanta rapper Young Thug faces new charges in RICO case

A performer onstage wearing sunglasse, a puffy pink jacket and tight pink pants
Young Thug performs on Day 4 of the Lollapalooza Music Festival at Grant Park in Chicago on Aug. 1, 2021.
(Amy Harris / Invision / Associated Press)

Atlanta rapper Young Thug, who’s accused of conspiracy to violate Georgia’s criminal racketeering law and participation in a criminal street gang, is facing six new felony charges along with four others linked to the case.

A new indictment was filed in Fulton County Superior Court last week against the artist, whose real name is Jeffery Williams. He now faces additional charges of criminal street gang activity, violation of the Georgia controlled substances act, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a machine gun and drug charges, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The new charges stem from what investigators found during Williams’ arrest on the original May 9 indictment at his home in Atlanta’s upscale Buckhead neighborhood, authorities said.

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Prosecutors allege that Young Thug’s violent boasts in song help prove his participation in criminal activity. His attorney calls the charges ‘baseless.’

The initial indictment contained 56 counts against 28 people for alleged involvement in crimes committed on behalf of the Young Slime Life street gang. The updated indictment now includes 65 counts, six of which apply to Williams.

At the time of Williams’ arrest, there was a question of whether the new charges would be folded into the RICO case. Court records now indicate that is what has been done.

Williams’ attorney, Brian Steel, said his client is innocent and looks forward to fighting the charges in court.

“Mr. Williams has committed absolutely no crimes,” Steel told the newspaper Wednesday. “We cannot wait for a trial date.”

Rap star Young Thug is at the center of a case brought by Georgia prosecutors that alleges that his rap crew, YSL, is actually a violent criminal gang.

Williams and rapper Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, remains in jail after bond was denied for both earlier this year. Steel said a new bond hearing for Williams has been scheduled for next week. A tentative trial date has been set for Jan. 9, 2023.

Martinez Arnold, also known as Duke, and Deamonte Kendrick, also known as Yak Gotti, face additional charges including participation in criminal street gang activity, violation of the Georgia controlled substances act, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a machine gun. Kendrick also has been indicted on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Shannon Stillwell and Quamarvious Nichols were charged with one additional count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon related to the death of Shymel Drinks on March 18.

Arnold’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, told WSB-TV that she is confident her client won’t be convicted. She said he will plead not guilty to the new charges as he already has to the original charges.

Rapper Gunna, arrested last month on a racketeering charge, said in a message on social media that 2022 has been one of the best years of his life.

The indictments center on Young Slime Life, an alleged gang prosecutors say was founded by Williams and two others in Atlanta with ties to the national Bloods gang.

Young Thug co-wrote the hit “This is America” with Childish Gambino, making history when it became the first hip-hop track to win the Grammy for song of the year in 2019.


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