Young Thug, YSL Trial: Fulton County DA says defense's recusal motion has no standing

The Fulton County District Attorney’s office has responded to a defense motion calling for the removal of the presiding judge in the Young Thug racketeering case.

Brian Steel, who represents Jeffery Williams, filed a motion late Monday arguing that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville should be disqualified based upon a meeting in his chambers on June 10. The judge and prosecutors met with witness Kenneth Copeland, who had asserted his Fifth Amendment right on the stand during testimony four days earlier—a move that violated a plea agreement.


Brian Steel and Young Thug in Fulton County courtroom on June 10, 2024. 

During that ex parte meeting, Judge Glanville explained the immunity order and the consequences of refusing to testify to Copeland. Copeland had already served the weekend in jail for contempt of court for his refusal to testify on the stand on June 6. The judge also reiterated to Copeland he would not lose his immunity for testifying under Georgia law. 


Kenneth Copeland, who is also known as "Lil Woody," appears on the stand to testify in the racketeering trial against Young Thug and others in Fulton County on June 7, 2024. (FOX 5)

Steele would come to find out about the meeting, exposing it in open court. When Judge Glanville pushed Steele to reveal his source, Steel refused. That led to a contempt charge against the attorney, which was later stayed by the Georgia Supreme Court pending an appeal.

In a response to Steele’s motion, filed by prosecutors early Wednesday evening, the DA’s office argued that the affidavit supporting the recusal motion must show a bias from an extrajudicial source, not just from participation in the case. It further asserted that there is a presumption that judges act impartially.

However, the crux of the state’s argument rests on the defense attorneys not being legally required to participate in the in-chambers meeting as they did not have a direct stake in compelling Copeland to testify.


Witness Kenneth Copeland and Judge Ural Glanville

The state also expressed concerns about whether proper procedures in the defense’s recusal motion were followed prior to Judge Glanville handing over the decision to Fulton County Judge Rachel Krause. 

Steele also objected to Judge Krause’s handling of the matter because Judge Glanville donated to Judge Krause's re-election campaign. 

The trial has been placed on hold indefinitely until a ruling on this motion. Prosecutors hope to proceed with Judge Glanville presiding, arguing that the disqualification motion does not meet legal standards. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story said that the judges had donated to each other. This was based on the original motion. That motion was amended by Brian Steel. It appears that Judge Krause did not donate to Judge Glanville.