Young Thug’s Lawyer Says Prosecutors Are Misusing Lyrics To Convict the Rapper

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Rapper Young Thug’s attorney told jurors Tuesday (Nov. 28) that his client was “born into a society filled with despair” and merely rapped about violent crime because “those are the stories he knew” — and that prosecutors had cherry-picked lyrics that matched the crimes they hoped to pin against him.

A day after Atlanta prosecutors kicked off the artist’s racketeering trial by accusing Thug (Jeffery Williams) of running a criminal street gang that operated like a “pack” of wolves, his attorney, Brian Steel, responded by telling the jury that the rapper “doesn’t even know most of the people in this indictment” and had no reason to run a criminal organization.

In addition to refuting each of the alleged “overt acts” that form the basis for the RICO case against Thug, Steel defended his client’s First Amendment right to rap about the dangerous conditions he faced growing up in Atlanta’s Cleveland Avenue neighborhood.

Thug (Jeffery Williams) was indicted last year on accusations that his “YSL” was not really a record label/music collective called “Young Stoner Life,” but a violent Atlanta gang called “Young Slime Life” that committed murders, carjackings, drug dealing and other crimes over the course of a decade.

Along with other charges, Thug stands accused of violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a law based on the more famous federal RICO statute that’s been used to target the mafia, drug cartels and other forms of organized crime. If convicted on all eight of his counts, Thug faces decades in prison.

-BILLBOARD