FULTON COUNTY, Ga. – The lawyer for Young Thug says he is being held in “dungeon-like conditions” and deserves release on bond or more humane treatment while fighting his “unconscionable and unconstitutional” RICO indictment.
In a new emergency motion filed Friday in Fulton County Superior Court and obtained by FOX 5, attorney Brian Steel says the Atlanta rapper has been placed in “solitary confinement,” relegated to a “windowless cement compartment with only a bed and a toilet and an overhead light which remains on 24 hours per day.” He states the rapper has no access to any type of media and “no opportunity to exercise, shower or have human contact.”
The 30-year-old, whose legal name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, was arrested on Monday in Buckhead as part of a sweeping gang indictment that also named 27 other people, including fellow Atlanta rapper Gunna. Fulton County prosecutors allege those named in the indictment are members of the Young Slime Life (YSL) gang, which has engaged in criminal activity in the city since 2012.
Jeffery Lamar Williams, who goes by the stage name Young Thug, was arrested on May 9, 2022. (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office)
Since his arrest, Williams’ lawyer says the rapper has been “living in total isolation as if he is a forgotten person alone in the world.”
In the 88-page indictment, prosecutors allege Williams is a co-founder of YSL. The indictment also gives a detailed account of various crimes alleged members of YSL are accused of, and documents social media posts and rap lyrics by Williams that reference YSL.
In his Friday motion, Steel says the rapper was “lawfully exercising his freedom of speech and expression in his profession as a musical artist” in his recordings.
“To weaponize these words by charging overt acts to support a supposed conspiracy is unconscionable and unconstitutional pursuant to the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution,” the motion states.
Williams lawyer filed a motion for bond on Tuesday, but has yet to receive a date.
“The failure to schedule a bond hearing for this innocent man, coupled with the inhumane and unconstitutional treatment of Mr. Williams, mandates that this Honorable Court grant bond until a hearing can be held,” his lawyer stated.
Rapper Gunna, born Sergio Kitchens (Fulton County Jail).
“The Bible, the Torah, the Quran, the Vedas and all like texts of humanity as well as any person with a conscious would understand that housing a human being (in this case, Mr. Williams) under these conditions in America, in an original Colony, when he has no prior felony record, denies any allegation of wrongdoing, has never been anything but cooperative, lawful and peaceful with the authorities, and is presumed to be innocent, is wrong, unlawful and unconscionable.”
If convicted of a RICO charge, Williams could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
What is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act?
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, was developed to fight organized crime. It was enacted in 1970 after being signed into law by President Richard Nixon.
Federally, RICO was originally was intended to be used to combat the Mafia. It draws from a list of 27 federal crimes and eight state crimes committed repeated over the course of a 10-year period. Those crimes can include fraud, theft, computer crimes, embezzlement, credit scams, investment schemes, human trafficking, illegal gambling, bribery, kidnapping, murder, money laundering, counterfeiting, and various drug charges.
The Justice Department has used RICO to dismantle multiple crime families and weed out corruption in several city police departments. Prosecutors have also used RICO to try to dismantle several street gangs and helped in prosecuting businesses that break federal law.
Georgia’s RICO statutes are similar to the federal version , but are much broader in that the criminal “enterprise” does not have to be around as long. Georgia is one of only 33 states that has its own RICO statutes. However, in both state and federal laws, a pattern of criminal enterprise has to be established.