Jury seated after nearly a year in Young Thug YSL trial

A jury has been seated in the YSL (Young Slime Life) trial centered around rapper Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Williams.

The trial, which began back in January, has faced a series of delays and complications. For months, not a single juror had been seated. 

Wednesday morning, Superior Court Chief Judge Ural Glanville said that they "need to swear a jury in today."

There were 50 qualified jurors, but by the afternoon it was whittled down to 12 along with six alternates. The process took about four hours. 

Related: Should rap lyrics be used in the YSL RICO trial? Judge to hold hearing

"If I can get you to raise your right hand for those who are able," Judge Glanville said once the group was chosen. 

The judge read them the charges and swore them in before they were sent home until the first day of the trial.  

"The day you come back, we will conduct opening statements, and you will hear the presentation of the case at that point in time," Judge Glanville said.

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Young Thug, along with six other defendants, stands accused of operating a street gang known as YSL. According to prosecutors, the gang is allegedly responsible for a string of violent crimes, including murder. The prosecution has recently expanded its witness list, while the defense is still awaiting crucial evidence in the case.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis asserts that Williams played a pivotal role in the YSL street gang's criminal activities. Meanwhile, the rapper maintains his innocence.

Seating of the jury was originally scheduled to take place after Thanksgiving but was moved up to this week after attorneys expressed concern about their clients receiving a speedy trial. The jury will be chosen from 48 people who have qualified. 

Young Thug has been in jail since May of last year. He and 27 others were charged with 56 violations of Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Since then, many of his co-defendants have pled guilty and accepted deals.

Jeffery Lamar Williams, who goes by the stage name Young Thug, was arrested on May 9, 2022.

Jeffery Lamar Williams, who goes by the stage name Young Thug, was arrested on May 9, 2022. (Fulton County Sheriff's Office)

The RICO indictment was filed on May 9, 2022. Initially, Williams was only named in counts one (conspiracy to violate RICO) and 56 (participation in criminal street gang activity). Count 56 alleges that he was in a position of leadership within YSL and was either directly or indirectly involved in acts of murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, theft, sale of drugs and other criminal acts.

He was later indicted on six additional counts after searches of his home. If Williams is found guilty on all counts, he could face life in prison.

Judge Glanville said Wednesday was a crucial day because jury selection needed to be finished. He says the speedy trial requirement requires a jury to be seated this week or the indictments would expire.   

"Because of the posture that we're in right now, I have to select a jury before the end of this term," he said.

There has been a hearing scheduled for Nov. 8 to take a look at the rapper's lyrics to determine whether they can be used as evidence in the case.

The trial is expected to begin Nov. 27.

How are jurors chosen?

Any U.S. citizen 18 years or older who is proficient in English and a resident of the county in which they have been summoned is eligible for jury duty.

According to Georgia's Administrative Office of the Courts, there are several exceptions that could disqualify a candidate:

  • You cannot have served on a jury within the last 12 months
  • You cannot be under a conservatorship
  • You cannot currently be on a grand jury or on another trial jury
  • You cannot be a convicted felon or public officer convicted of malfeasance whose civil rights have been revoked

Jurors are randomly selected, but must reflect a cross-section of the "relevant community."

Here's a look at the demographic breakdown in the YSL trial:

  • 10 Black females
  • 2 white females
  • 3 Black males
  • 3 white males