A judge ruled on Friday (August 11) that law enforcement could search the laptop of defense attorney Eric Johnson after one of the Young Slime Life defendants used Instagram to communicate with a courthouse deputy.
A warrant accuses Christian Eppinger of using Instagram to communicate with a courthouse deputy, Akeiba Stanley, with whom he allegedly had a romantic relationship.
Stanley was dismissed from her position and arrested two days post the laptop’s seizure. She was charged with several offenses, including conspiracy to commit a felony and violating her oath of office.
She was released on a $70,000 bond last month. The decision came after Fulton County deputies seized Johnson’s laptop during jury selection earlier this year.
Johnson is representing Eppinger, who is one of the 28 individuals charged in the extensive racketeering indictment against Atlanta rapper Young Thug and others, had requested the suppression of the search warrant and the return of his laptop.
However, Chief Judge Ural Glanville found that the sheriff’s office had enough probable cause to ask for a warrant.
This was based on suspicions that Johnson permitted his client to use the laptop for Instagram communications after deputies took pictures of him using the social media platform in open court.
It was noted that since jury selection began in January, defendants have been using their attorneys’ computers. However, they are only supposed to review evidence in preparation for the trial.
Judge Glanville also appointed a special master to supervise the search of Johnson’s laptop to establish guidelines, especially since the laptop might hold confidential attorney-client details.