Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis and The State of Georgia have officially responded to a motion filed by Young Thug in June revolving around the rap star’s concerns regarding his right to a fair trial.
The ongoing legal battle involves eight defendants, with Young Thug among them. They face many charges, from conspiracy to violate the RICO Act to more severe offenses like murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery.
Seven of the defendants are currently being held at the Fulton County Jail, while one is at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center. A common thread binding them is their alleged affiliation with the Young Slime Life (YSL) criminal street gang.
As previously reported by AllHipHop.com, Young Thug has been vocal about the overwhelming police presence during his trial, fearing it’s casting a shadow of guilt over him. The Atlanta-based rapper and his legal team have been mainly concerned about the “fortress-like atmosphere” in the courtroom.
They argue the atmosphere, combined with the fact Young Thug’s family and supporters have been relegated to a separate “viewing courtroom,” might influence the jury’s perception.
The police, often seen in tactical gear and carrying heavy weaponry, have been described as having more than just a “heavy” presence. Additionally, Young Thug’s appearance in the courtroom, shackled in a leg brace, only adds to the narrative that he’s dangerous.
Despite these concerns, the court has sided mainly with the discretion of the sheriff regarding the level of police presence. Young Thug’s legal team has been persistent, arguing that the closure of the main courtroom to his supporters and the differential treatment of defense attorneys compared to prosecutors creates an inherent bias against him.
They’ve even requested a special hearing to present evidence of the overwhelming police presence and other elements contributing to an unfair trial environment.
However, the state’s stance is clear: the disruptions caused by Young Thug and the other defendants inside and outside the courtroom have necessitated the increased police presence. They argue Young Thug and his co-defendants are the primary reasons for these extraordinary security measures.
These incidents have resulted in the issuing of more than 46 additional arrest warrants for the YSL defendants and their associates. Moreover, the YSL defendants have been consistently sharing photos from inside the courtroom on their social media, further complicating the matter.
The following incidents since the trial’s commencement on January 4 highlight the need for such security:
1. January 17, 2023: Deamonte Kendrick’s (Yak Gotti) mother and girlfriend attempted to deliver a white envelope containing tobacco products within Deamonte Kendrick’s legal documents.
2. January 18, 2023: Damone Blaock and Lil Rod were found with shanks in their jail cells at the Fulton County Jail.
3. January 18, 2023: Khalieff Adams handed a Percocet pill to Young Thug in open court. Adams had a blue package between his buttocks containing three oxycodone-hydrochloride pills, three acetaminophen-oxycodone-hydrochloride pills and four bags of a brown leafy substance believed to be tobacco.
4. January 23, 2023: Lil Rod spit on Fulton County Sheriff Investigator M. Kandakai while awaiting transport to the courthouse from the jail.
5. January 31, 2023: Christian “Bhris” Eppinger, Lil Rod, Blalock and Demise McMullen stabbed inmate Demarcus Bussey in the Fulton County Jail and collapsed his lung.
6. March 23, 2023: Derontae Bebee threatened a Cobb County Deputy by telling the deputy: “I got something for you… I’m surprised you ain’t died yet.”
7. March 29, 2023: Shannon Stillwell threatened a female during a call he made from a cell phone. Stillwell’s jail cell contained a cell phone, Apple Air Pods, a shank, 18 cigarettes and 173 ecstasy pills.
8. April 5, 2023: Yak Gotti possessed an iPhone and Apple Air Pods inside the Fulton County Jail.
9. April 15, 2023: Tenquarius Mender had Apple AirPods, 73 Percocet pills, $840 in $20 denominations, two phone chargers and two cigarette lighters in his jail cell.
10. April 17, 2023: Mender, during transport from the courthouse to the jail, was found with marijuana, Percocet, hydrocodone, morphine pills and tobacco in an envelope in his legal documents.
11. April 19, 2023: Lil Rod was found to have two large rolls of marijuana sewn into his underwear while court was in session.
12. April 29, 2023: Cordarius Dorsey shanked two inmates at the Fulton County Jail.
13. May 1, 2023: Dorsey and another inmate popped locks to cells in the jail, enabling another inmate to commit an aggravated assault.
14. May 14, 2023: Quamarvious Nichols and Mender were involved in a riot at the jail. Mender is seen leading the melee in the security videos.
15. May 15, 2023: Bebee wore unauthorized clothing at the Fulton County Jail.
16. May 16, 2023: Dorsey and Eppinger refused to follow commands from Fulton County Sheriff’s Office deputies and physically resisted efforts by deputies to achieve compliance. Dorsey began hissing like a “snake” and spit on deputies. While fighting with deputies, Eppinger stated, “This is going to be every day now. It’s on.”
17. May 16, 2023: Eppinger fought with a deputy attempting to remove Eppinger’s leg brace while being transported from the courthouse to the Fulton County Jail.
18. May 17, 2023: Dorsey held unauthorized clothing articles in his jail cell.
19. May 25, 2023: Former Fulton County Deputy Sheriff Akeiba Stanley fostered a relationship with Eppinger by communicating with Eppinger through Instagram on an illegal cellphone that she knew he had. Stanley also attempted to bring Eppinger contraband from one of his family members.
20. June 16, 2023: Dorsey refused to come out of his cell for trial, delaying the start of proceedings that day.