Judge denies bond for rapper Young Thug in RICO case

Jun 2, 2022, 5:19 PM | Updated: 6:14 pm
CORRECT FIRST NAME TO: JEFFERY, INSTEAD OF JEFFREY FILE - Young Thug performs on day four of the Lo...

CORRECT FIRST NAME TO: JEFFERY, INSTEAD OF JEFFREY FILE - Young Thug performs on day four of the Lollapalooza Music Festival on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, at Grant Park in Chicago. The Atlanta rapper, whose name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, was arrested Monday, May 9, 2022, in Georgia on conspiracy to violate the state's RICO act and street gang charges, according to jail records. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)

(Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia judge denied bond Thursday evening for Atlanta rapper Young Thug, who’s accused of conspiracy to violate Georgia’s RICO Act and participation in a criminal street gang.

Fulton County Judge Ural Glanville handed down the ruling saying he has significant concerns about the entertainer, whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, being a danger to the community, news outlets reported.

Prosecutors argued Williams is the head of a violent street gang called Young Slime Life that he cofounded. The gang committed multiple murders, shootings and carjackings over roughly a decade and promoted its activities in songs and on social media, prosecutors allege in an 88-page indictment that charges him, rapper Gunna — whose real name is Sergio Kitchens — aspiring rapper Christian Eppinger and 24 others with racketeering.

Eppinger was already in jail, accused of shooting an Atlanta police officer six times in February.

Young Thug, prosecutors said Thursday, is “the top dog, the most dangerous man here, because he doesn’t have to get his hands dirty, he has others to do his business,” Atlanta station WXIA-TV reported.

Williams has been in custody since his arrest last month at his home in an upscale neighborhood north of downtown Atlanta. His attorneys presented several witnesses to counter the image prosecutors painted, pointing to the musician’s community involvement. Music executive Kevin Liles testified that Williams was “like a son” and he was willing to put up his own wealth and business behind a bond.

The rapper, he said, “is not just an artist – he’s an influencer, a person I think was put here to change the people around him” and a “contributing citizen to this world.”

Young Thug co-wrote the hit “This is America” with Childish Gambino, making history when it became the first hip-hop track to win the song of the year Grammy in 2019.

An expected trial date, the judge said, would be Jan. 9, 2023.

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Judge denies bond for rapper Young Thug in RICO case