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Judge Rules Young Thug’s Rap Lyrics Are Admissible in Court

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An Atlanta judge ruled that rapper Young Thug’s lyrics can be used as evidence against him in his gang-related RICO trial.

Young Thug, real name Jeffery Williams, was arrested in May 2022 on a 56-count indictment filed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

On Thursday, Judge Ural Glanville ruled that violent rap lyrics by Young Thug and other co-defendants can be admitted into evidence. Judge Glanville denied a motion filed by Williams’s attorney last December arguing against the use of lyrics in the case.

Williams’ attorney Brian Steel argued that rap lyrics are a form of artistic expression that falls under the First Amendment rights to freedom of speech.

“[Prosecutors] are targeting the right to free speech,” Steel said during arguments on Wednesday night. He added that Williams didn’t write some of the lyrics himself.

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The prosecutor’s office argued that Williams’ rap lyrics are confessions to crimes, not constitutionally protected speech.

“The lyrics are being used to prove the nature of YSL as a racketeering enterprise, the expectations of YSL as a criminal street gang,” said Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Mike Carlson in court on Wednesday.

Steel previously said his client was a respected businessman and that his record label, Young Stoner Life (YSL), operated as a legitimate company in Atlanta.

However, prosecutors say YSL is actually Young Slime Life, a violent street gang and organized crime enterprise.

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