Rapper Young Thug makes court appearance on gang charges


(NewsNation) — Rapper Young Thug, part of a long list of defendants in Georgia accused of illegal gang activity, racketeering and conspiracy, made his first court appearance Tuesday.

The 30-year-old musical artist, whose real name is Jeffrey Lamar Williams, was among 28 people arrested in a major crackdown on gang activity in Fulton County, Georgia.

Williams’ attorney, Brian Steel, maintains that his client “committed no crime whatsoever.”

“We will fight to my last drop of blood to clear him,” Steel said.

According to prosecutors, Williams in 2012 co-founded a violent street gang known as YSL, for young slime life, which he promoted in his songs and on social media. He was arrested Monday at his home in Atlanta, and held at the Fulton County Jail on charges of conspiracy to violate Georgia’s RICO Act and participation in a criminal street gang.

Prosecutors are expected to use Williams’ social media posts and his own song lyrics against him during the trial.

Also named in the case is Sergio Kitchens, a rapper and YSL associate known as “Gunna.” Gunna is signed to Williams’ record label. In April 2021, the two posted bail for 30 low-level inmates who were unable to afford the costs themselves. 

Fani Willis, Fulton County’s district attorney, said Tuesday that her number one focus is targeting gangs.

“It does not matter what your notoriety is, what your fame is,” Willis said. “If you come to Fulton County, Georgia, and you commit crime, and certainly, if those crimes are in furtherance of a street gang, you will become a target and focus of this district attorney’s office,”

YSL is said to be affiliated with the national Bloods gang. It is mainly active in southeast Atlanta, but is expanding to the surrounding metro area, prosecutors said. Members of the gang are identifiable by their green or red bandanas and clothes with YSL or Slime on them.

In Williams’ case, the indictment links the YSL gang to a wide range of illegal activities from drug dealing to murder.

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