On Friday (May 13), a lawyer for Young Thug filed an emergency motion with the Georgia Superior Court alleging that the rapper has been jailed in “inhumane” conditions and requesting he be granted an “expeditious” bond hearing or be placed in a “non-torturous” environment while behind bars.
“Specifically, the State of Georgia, by and through its public officials, has detained Mr. Williams in dungeon-like conditions,” wrote attorney Brian Steel in the filing (Young Thug’s real name is Jeffrey Williams). Those conditions are said to consist of “solitary confinement/total isolation”; a “windowless cement compartment with only a bed and a toilet and an overhead light which remains on 24 hours per day, preventing any sleep, rest or meditation”; “no access to any type of media,” including TV or internet; and no opportunities to “exercise, shower or have human contact” aside from his attorneys.
Throughout the filing, Steel reasserts Young Thug’s innocence and slams prosecutors for quoting song lyrics to support the allegations against the rapper, which were included in a sprawling 88-page indictment filed against Young Thug and 27 others, including fellow rapper Gunna, on Monday (May 9). “To weaponize these words by charging overt acts to support a supposed conspiracy is unconscionable and unconstitutional pursuant” to the U.S. Constitution as well as the Georgia state constitution, Steel writes. On Thursday (May 12), lawyers for Gunna also criticized the use of song lyrics to back up charges against the rapper, warning it could lead to criminal charges against “any artist with a song referencing violence,” as others have previously argued.
In the indictment, Young Thug is alleged to be one of three founders of the Young Slime Life, “a criminal street gang that started in late 2012” in Atlanta. Charges include “Preserving, protecting and enhancing the reputation, power and territory of the enterprise through acts of racketeering activity including murder, assault and threats of violence.” He was subsequently charged with seven more felonies on Wednesday (May 11), including possession of drugs and illegal firearms, based on items found at his home during his arrest earlier in the week. On Thursday (May 12), a Fulton County judge denied the rapper bond based on that second round of charges brought after the indictment.
In Friday’s filing, Steel claims that under Georgia state law, the allegations made against Young Thug in the May 9 indictment “do not constitute any evidence of guilt” but rather contain “nothing more than the inadmissible, non-probative hearsay statements of the prosecutor bringing the charges.” Steel does not mention the subsequent charges filed against the rapper on Wednesday, which are technically separate from those listed in the indictment.
One of the allegations listed in the indictment is that Young Thug rented a car that was later used in a 2015 drive-by shooting that killed 26-year-old Donovan Thomas and wounded two others. But in the new filing, Steel writes that there “is no allegation by the Grand Jury that Mr. Williams had knowledge of this crime, had knowledge that this rented vehicle would be used in any supposed crime or that Mr. Williams was a party to this supposed crime.”
As a result, Steel continues, Young Thug “is entitled to bond as a matter of law” given that he is not a convicted felon, a flight risk, a danger to the community, a risk to commit a felony while out on bond or a risk to obstruct justice by influencing witnesses or bribing jurors. In the filing Steel cites the case of Ayala vs. State, which found that defendants meeting those criteria should be eligible for pretrial bond in the state of Georgia, as precedent.
Steel adds that despite the fact that a motion for bond was filed on Tuesday (May 10) on Young Thug’s behalf, the court has not yet scheduled a date for the hearing. “This incarceration of an innocent man is unconscionable and cannot continue,” he concludes.