11-9-2023, 10:42 PM

Rap lyrics 'conditionally' admissible in Young Thug trial, judge says

The Atlanta judge presiding over Young Thug's gang-related trial ruled Thursday that prosecutors might conditionally introduce rap lyrics as evidence.

Despite Young Thug's attorney's December motion to exclude lyrics from the sweeping RICO indictment, Judge Ural Glanville allowed 17 sets of lyrics performed by Young Thug and other co-defendants to be preliminarily 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," said Glanville.

One day after Young Thug and two other co-defendants' attorneys argued that using lyrics as evidence violates the artist's freedom of speech and denies rap music art status, the judge ruled.

In a late-night hearing on Wednesday, Young Thug's attorney, Brian Steel, claimed that lyrics are artistic expression and should not be used to judge a person's mental state. He also claimed that Young Thug did not write all his lyrics.

Prosecutors claimed the songs relate to the indictment's crimes.

This indictment implicated 28 people tied to the Atlanta-based Young Slime Life (YSL), which authorities say Young Thug formed in 2012. However, 300 Entertainment's "Young Stoner Life," or YSL, is the rapper's label. Label is not identified in indictment. The indictment used lyrics as evidence.

Rap lyrics as evidence in criminal cases are typical in the U.S., but this case has garnered national attention due to Young Thug's celebrity power.

Young Thug was initially charged with conspiring to violate the state's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and participating in criminal street gang activity. He was later charged with an additional count of street gang activity, three counts of violating the Georgia controlled substances act, gun possession while committing a felony, and machine gun possession.

He denies all eight charges.

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