Young Thug trial: Rapper's lawyer won't go to jail after Georgia Supreme Court grants bond

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

Brian Steel, the attorney for Atlanta rapper Young Thug, will not have to spend Father's Day in jail after he was found in contempt of court.

In a ruling on Wednesday, the Georgia Supreme Court granted Steel's emergency motion staying Judge Ural Glanville's order holding the lawyer in criminal contempt.

The court also agreed to hear Steel's case at a future time. Until Steel's appeal is completed, the court will allow him to remain out of custody.

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

Young Thug's lawyer held in contempt

Glanville ordered that Steel be taken into custody on Monday after Steel approached the bench following the lunch recess, revealing his knowledge of an ex parte conversation that took place before the court earlier that morning.

The conversation, which involved the judge, prosecutors, and witness Kenneth "Lil Woody" Copeland, reportedly included Copeland's admission to killing Donovan "Nut" Thomas Jr.

"If that’s true what this is is coercion, witness intimidation, ex parte communications that we have a constitutional right to be present for," Steel said in court.

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

Glanville demanded to know how Steel obtained this information, but Steel refused to disclose his source.

The judge gave Steel five minutes to reconsider, threatening him with contempt of court and then stormed from the courtroom.

When the judge returned and Steel still refused to divulge the source, he was declared in contempt and ordered into custody.

Glanville ordered Steel to serve 20 days in the Fulton County Jail by spending the next 10 weekends there, reporting at 7 p.m. on Fridays and being released at 7 p.m. on Sundays beginning this Friday and continuing through Aug. 18.

After Glanville's ruling, Steel asked if he could spend that time in custody in the Cobb County Jail with Young Thug. 

Brian Steel appeals his contempt order

Steel filed a notice of appeal of the contempt order to the Georgia Court of Appeals later that day. He also filed a motion asking Glanville to "reconsider and rescind the order of contempt" or to grant him bond while his appeal is pending.

Steel’s motion says that the judge and prosecutors held a meeting with a sworn witness who had been granted immunity and who had been held in contempt after asserting his Fifth Amendment privilege. Steel’s motion says he disclosed in court that he was aware of that meeting and proceeded to move for a mistrial.

While the judge says Steel had information he shouldn’t have had, Steel’s motion says the information was not declared confidential by any court order and that in finding him in contempt Glanville "has imposed an illegal and inherently inconsistent punishment for this criminal contempt."

The appeals court transferred Steel's request to the Georgia Supreme Court, saying that the court had the "ultimate responsibility" for determining who had jurisdiction. 

A date for the appeal hearing has not been set.

What are the charges Young Thug faces?

Rapper Young Thug wears a MattyBoy's Sex Records shirt to court.

A Fulton County grand jury indicted Young Thug 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 "Nut" 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 other defendants who have already pleaded guilty to various charges 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).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.