Young Thug jury chosen | Opening statements begin Nov. 27
18 jurors chosen for rapper Jeffery Williams’s massive YSL organized crime case
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - More than 10 months after the selection and screening process began, a jury was chosen Wednesday in Young Thug’s massive organized crime trial in Atlanta.
A motions hearing had been set for Wednesday morning on whether rap lyrics could be used as evidence in the trial.
Instead, Fulton County Chief Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville began the process of actually seating a jury for a trial that is expected to last most of a year.
A total of 18 jurors were selected for the trial, with 12 seated as jurors and six alternates: 10 Black women, two white women, three Black men and three white men. The panel of 12 features seven Black women, two Black men, two white women and one white man.
If Glanville did not swear in a jury, the district attorney’s office would have had to restart the indictment process due to Georgia’s speedy trial law.
“Because of the posture that we’re in right now, I have to select a jury before the end of this term,” Glanville told Brian Steel, Williams’ attorney.
Glanville swore in the jury shortly after prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to the panel. The judge later strongly admonished the panel not to talk about the case among themselves or anyone else; refrain from using social media; and return on Nov. 27, when Glanville said opening statements will begin.
A total of 48 jurors qualified for the trial after thousands of potential jurors have been summoned since January. A court spokesperson said several pre-trial motions are still waiting to be heard.
“Wednesday was a mile-marker day,” attorney Joshua Schiffer said. “Prosecutors and defense attorneys began exercising their juror strikes until they got to their final jury.”
Schiffer said a trial could last at least five months “in this extraordinarily unique and complex case.”
Hundreds of potential jurors requested exemptions from service for a variety of reasons: child care and elderly patient care obligations, medical reasons, and professional hardship, among others.
Williams is on trial in Fulton County in a massive RICO case involving himself and six other defendants. Prosecutors allege Williams and his co-defendants are members of the Young Slime Life (YSL) gang, while defense attorneys argue YSL is simply the name of a record label, Young Stoner Life.
Besides Williams, the other defendants being tried in the case are:
- Derontae Bebee, aka “Bee” or “B”
- Marquavius Huey, aka “Qua”
- Deamonte Kendrick, aka “Yak Gotti”
- Quamarvious Nichols, aka “Qua”
- Rodalius Ryan, aka “Lil Rod”
- Shannon Stillwell, aka “Shannon Jackson” or “SB”
The jury selection has already lasted longer than any other trial in Georgia history and has been repeatedly plagued by arrests, charges, and disruptions. The trial itself could last for more than a year. Georgia’s longest jury selection and its longest trial both came in the Atlanta Public Schools teacher scandal of 2014-15.
Young Thug is facing eight criminal counts under a federal law that was originally enacted to fight organized crime. Georgia is one of 33 states that has its own RICO law, but in the Peach State, the alleged criminal enterprises do not have to have existed as long as the federal law.
A motion hearing if Young Thugs rap lyrics can be used against him the trial is set Nov. 8.
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