Young Thug’s RICO trial on hold indefinitely as defense moves to recuse judge from case

The rapper Young Thug wearing thick, white glasses, a dark patterned shirt and chains leaning forward and looking ahead
Young Thug’s racketeering case in Atlanta hit another roadblock weeks after the rapper’s lawyer was accused of contempt of court.
(Paras Griffin / Getty Images)
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Young Thug’s months-long racketeering trial faces yet another delay. This time, defendants are calling on an Atlanta judge to recuse himself from the case.

The “Go Crazy” rapper’s lawyer and those for other defendants filed motions demanding that Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Ural Glanville be removed from the case and that another judge oversee the trial, according to the Associated Press. The motions accused Glanville of holding an “improper” meeting with prosecutors and a prosecution witness, which did not include defendants and their attorneys.

In a Monday hearing without jurors (who are on break until July 8), Glanville announced that he would release the transcript of his meeting in June with prosecutor’s witness Kenneth Copeland and his attorneys. He said he would cancel Wednesday’s hearing “indefinitely” and that he would send the attorneys’ motions to recuse to another judge.


Brian Steel, a lawyer for Young Thug in the rapper’s RICO case, avoids an imminent 10 weekends in jail as a Georgia court stays a judge’s contempt finding.

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“So this written order is entered, I will enter the order transferring it. Until such time that those things are decided, then we’ll be in recess until that time,” Glanville said.

The judge’s decision to further delay the drawn-out trial comes weeks after he found Young Thug’s lawyer Brian Steel in criminal contempt of court. In June, Glanville ordered Steel to spend 10 weekends in jail after the defense attorney refused to disclose how he knew about the judge’s meeting with Copeland and his attorneys.

Steel was to report to Fulton County Jail but then was cleared of the sentence. At the time, attorney Ashleigh Merchant, a legal representative for Steel, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a statement that her team was “thrilled that Brian will be home with his family for Father’s Day this weekend.”

The RICO trial against rapper Young Thug and YSL is being delayed after co-defendant Shannon Stillwell was stabbed multiple times in Fulton County Jail.

Dec. 13, 2023

Opening statements for Young Thug’s high-profile racketeering trial began in November, a year after he was named in a sweeping 2022 indictment in which Georgia officials accused the rapper of being a founding member of the criminal gang Young Slime Life, or YSL. The gang shares that acronym with the rapper’s Young Stoner Life record label.

Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, is one of 28 people — including rappers Gunna and Unfoonk — allegedly associated with YSL and targeted in the indictment.

Since the trial began, it has faced several issues that prompted delays, including an online leak of a juror’s identity and a defendant’s stabbing in Fulton County Jail.