Rapper Young Thug has raised concerns about the heavy police presence in his ongoing RICO trial, arguing that it is prejudicing his chance for a fair trial.
The Atlanta-based rapper and his legal team have been vocal about the “fortress-like atmosphere” in the courtroom, which they believe influences the jury pool’s perception of Young Thug.
From the start of the case, Young Thug’s family members and supporters have been barred from entering the courtroom, instead assigned to a separate “viewing courtroom.”
The police presence, described as more than “heavy,” includes officers in tactical gear carrying heavy guns and ammunition.
Young Thug himself is brought into the courtroom daily in a leg brace, a sight his legal team argues further contributes to the impression that he is dangerous.
The court has overruled previous objections from Young Thug’s counsel regarding the police presence, leaving it to the discretion of the Sheriff.
The rap star’s legal team has argued that this decision, along with the closure of the courtroom to his supporters, creates a prejudice against him.
Young Thug’s lawyers have also raised concerns about the differential treatment of defense attorneys and prosecutors, with the former being searched in front of the jury panel while the latter often enter through a back door without being searched.
His legal team has requested a hearing to present photographs and other evidence of the police presence, the leg brace, and other elements contributing to an unfair trial environment.
They argue that this evidence is necessary for an Appellate Court to understand the extent of the police presence should there be a wrongful conviction.
Young Thug’s trial has been marked by delays and controversies.
A defendant and a lawyer were arrested for having drugs in court, a potential juror was jailed, and Young Thug has been hospitalized twice due to undisclosed health issues, leading to further postponements.
His legal team has also made four attempts to secure bond for the rapper, who has been in jail since his arrest in May 2022. The jury selection process has been lengthy, involving over 1,200 potential jurors, and jurors still need to be seated.