Young Thug trial: Attorneys review tapes, defense seeks GA Supreme Court intervention

The jury will not be hearing testimony this week in the Young Thug/YSL trial in Fulton County.

Attorneys and the judge are still reviewing what the jury should hear next from police interviews and witnesses. The review began last week. The jury was last in court on June 17 and is not expected to return until July 8, after the July 4th holiday.

FOX 5 Atlanta streams all court proceedings on their YouTube channel 

Before the review, testimony by witness Kenneth "Lil Woody" Copeland dominated the proceedings for over a week. Copeland initially refused to testify but agreed after spending the weekend in jail and an ex parte meeting on Jan. 10 with Judge Glanville and prosecutors. Copeland, who is a convicted felon, reportedly agreed to testify against Young Thug, Shannon Stillwell and Deamonte Kendrick after he was picked up for carrying a gun in 2021. 

The review includes 17 hours of video interviews with Copeland by police and over 2 hours of phone calls made by Copeland while in jail. The prosecution wants the jury to see these videos, but the defense disagrees. They are now deciding what can and cannot be shown in open court. 

The review is expected to continue through this week and into July 1 and 2. On July 3, Glanville is set to conduct an "in camera review of Copeland's ex parte matter," which resulted in an uproar. 

Young Thug's attorney, Brian Steel, filed a motion to disqualify or recuse the judge because of the ex parte meeting, but Glanville denied it, citing a lack of evidence. A disqualification motion by Demonte Kendrick's lawyers, Doug Weinstein and Katie Hingerty, was also dismissed during a 10-minute hearing on June 12. They have now petitioned the Georgia Supreme Court to halt the trial and have until an "unbiased" judge can review the disqualification motion. The petition also requests an unredacted transcript from the meeting.

The petition claims: "Glanville’s obstruction of defendant’s right to a fair and impartial trial has risen to a level that defense counsel now believes all attempts to obtain relief in the Superior Court of Fulton County will be ineffective... Therefore, any effort to file a Writ of Mandamus in Fulton County that would be heard by Chief Judge Glanville would result in frustration and lack of action. Glanville’s court is where writs go to die."

Kendrick's lawyers argue that Judge Glanville has failed to follow recusal rules and has violated the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct by trying to influence a witness during an ex parte meeting and concealing the meeting afterward.


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Young Thug trial: Attorney Brian Steel held in contempt, ordered stay in Fulton County Jail

Young Thug trial: Lil Woody arrested for refusing to testify in trial

Kenneth Copeland: Social media star

Copeland's testimony may not have been helpful to the prosecution, but it earned him quite a few fans on social media. It's unknown at this time if he will be returning to the witness stand. 

RELATED: Young Thug/YSL trial: A tired Kenneth Copeland returns to witness stand

What are the charges Young Thug faces?

A Fulton County grand jury indicted Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, in May 2022, and more charges were added in a subsequent indictment in August of that year. The second indictment accuses Young Thug and 27 other people of conspiring to violate Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO. The rapper is also accused of participation in criminal street gang activity, as well as drug and gun charges.

Prosecutors say Young Thug and two other people co-founded a violent criminal street gang in 2012 called Young Slime Life, or YSL, which they say is associated with the national Bloods gang. The indictment says Young Thug "made YSL a well-known name by referring to it in his songs and on social media."

In addition to specific charges, the August indictment includes a wide-ranging list of 191 acts that prosecutors say were committed between 2013 and 2022 as part of the alleged conspiracy to further the gang’s interests.

Included in that list is an allegation that Young Thug threatened in July 2015 to shoot a security guard who was trying to get him to leave an Atlanta-area mall. The indictment also says Young Thug rented a silver Infiniti sedan that was used in the killing of a rival gang member named Donovan "Big Nutt" Thomas. And, on numerous occasions, he and others are alleged to have possessed various illegal drugs that they intended to distribute.

Who is on trial with Young Thug?

The other defendants still facing trial include Marquavius Huey, Deamonte Kendrick (known as Yak Gotti), Quamarvious Nichols, Rodalius Ryan and Shannon Stillwell.

The defendants who already pled guilty to various charges and made deals with prosecutors prior to jury selection include Gunna, whose given name is Sergio Kitchens; Young Thug's older brother, Quantavious Grier (Unfoonk); Trontavious Stephens (Tick); and Antonio Sledge (Mounk Tounk).