Atlanta Judge To Determine If Prosecutors Can Use Young Thug’s Lyrics As Evidence In YSL Trial
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville will determine if lyrics by Young Thug can be used at YSL trial.
The RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) trial of Atlanta hip-hop recording artist Young Thug starts following jury selection. Now, the judge assigned to the case has set a hearing scheduled for Nov. 8 to determine if the lyrics the rapper has used over the years can be used as evidence of the crimes he and his crew have been accused of.
According to Fox 5 Atlanta, prosecutors have told Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville that Young Thug is the leader of the gang YSL, an acronym for Young Slime Life and that he and other members of YSL are participants of and responsible for violent crimes in Atlanta. Yet, the defense attorneys for Jeffery Lamar Williams, known as Young Thug, state that the letters of YSL stand for Young Stoner Life Records. The label is home to Young Thug and Gunna and was previously home to YoungBoy Never Broke Again (NBA YoungBoy) and Lil Baby.
The label was started in 2016, but the prosecutors allege that the street gang, which is associated with the Bloods, has been around since 2012.
Prosecutors want to submit lyrics for various songs over the years as evidence of some of the crimes Young Thug and YSL are accused of, according to the outlet. They state that the lyrics are “highly pertinent” to the state of mind of the defendants who have recorded those songs. Prosecutors admit that they have spent nine years going over the lyrics and social media posts of YSL associates, but they also say that other evidence of their alleged crimes has also been collected.
To try to further utilize the song lyrics in their presentation, they also made references to the manifestos written by Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) and Timothy McVeigh (responsible for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing), according to a report by Billboard.
Yet, defense attorneys for YSL members intend on having experts testify that rap lyrics are frowned upon by most Americans due to racial bias.
“There’s a strong legal test of when a lyric can be used as evidence,” Georgia State College of Law professor Mo Ivory said.
There have been efforts to disallow prosecutors to use lyrics written by rappers to be used against them in a court of law.
Last year, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Georgia, presented the “Restoring Artistic Protections Act,” or “RAP Act.” If passed, it would limit the use of lyrics as permissible evidence in federal court.
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