Judge In Young Thug Case Will Allow Rap Lyrics As Evidence In RICO Trial
The ruling could set a dangerous precedent.
An important decision has been made in the RICO case against Atlanta rapper and label owner Young Thug. The judge in the case has ruled that lyrics that the recording artist rapped in sound recordings can be used as evidence against him and his associates.
According to ABC News, after defense attorneys for Young Thug argued that using his lyrics in the case against him violates his freedom of speech, Judge Ural Glanville stated otherwise. She ruled that 17 sets of lyrics presented in the indictment could be admitted in the trial.
“I’m conditionally admitting those pending lyrics, depending upon – or subject to a foundation that is properly laid by the state or the proponent that seeks to admit that evidence,” Glanville said.
She also stated that if prosecutors want to submit any additional lyrics as part of the alleged evidence, they would have to be given to her to review before the trial starts later this month.
“I would just ask the state or just remind the state if any other lyrics are sought to be admitted—that I’d have to go through this same analysis,” Glanville added.
In the indictment, prosecutors argued that the lyrics prove that the alleged crimes committed took place and are relevant to the case that’s being presented.
“The lyrics are being used to prove the nature of YSL as a racketeering enterprise, the expectations of YSL as a criminal street gang,” Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Mike Carlson told the judge on Wednesday.
Yet, Young Thug’s attorney, Brian Steel, stated that lyrics heard on record are a form of artistic expression and should not be used as evidence of his true state of mind. He even went as far as saying that all the lyrics that Young Thug said were not even written by him.
“[Prosecutors] are targeting the right to free speech,” Steel said.
The 30-year-old recording artist was charged with conspiracy to violate the RICO Act and participating in street gang activity in May 2022. He was later hit with another charge of participating in street gang activity, three counts of violating the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, possession of a firearm while committing a felony, and possession of a machine gun.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges. Opening arguments are slated to begin on Nov. 27.