Following nearly a year of delays, the highly anticipated trial of rapper Young Thug—who is rumored to be either the merciless leader of a violent street gang that terrorized Atlanta neighborhoods or an inspirational success who rose from poverty to rap stardom through hard work and determination—is now taking place in Atlanta, Georgia.
The rapper, whose real name is Jeffrey Williams, was charged with conspiring with over two dozen other people to break Georgia’s anti-racketeering law last year in a massive indictment.
The suspects were allegedly members of the criminal street gang known as YSL, or “Young Slime Life.”
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is using the same law to prosecute Donald Trump in his Georgia election interference case.
Prosecutors claim that the gang is responsible for several violent crimes, such as carjackings, shootings, murders, and racketeering.
Young Thug has refuted the allegations and maintained that Young Stoner Life is just his record label.
The Grammy Award-winning rapper and five other defendants are now on trial after several accepted plea deals or had their cases dismissed.
On Wednesday, the first expert witness gave his testimony. Despite the defense’s constant interruptions, Detective Mark Belknap was able to explain how he discovered YSL, a street gang, and provide the jurors with the group’s identifiers.
However, Young Thug’s trial was disrupted after courtroom cameras broadcast the faces of jurors.
The problem started when the detective was walking to the witness stand and parts of the jurors’ faces were visible on the live feed. A moment later, the front-row members of the jury were briefly visible due to a change in camera angle. After the recordings were swiftly shared online, they went viral, and people on social media started identifying purported jury members.
When Judge Ural Glanville learned of the accident, he “looked very angry and called all attorneys back in chambers,” according to reports.
The judge acknowledged an “inadvertent recording of some of our jurors on the front row” after about an hour.
He questioned if the media was “willing” to withhold Detective Belknap’s testimony, citing “security issues.”
Though Judge Glanville refrained from declaring a mistrial, all sides consented to the media capturing solely the audio of the detective testifying.