ATLANTA — Atlanta rapper Gunna has entered a negotiated guilty plea to a RICO charge following the sweeping gang indictment against the alleged Young Slime Life gang, ahead of next month’s scheduled trial date.
“The defense team is extremely pleased that Sergio Kitchens, better known as Gunna, was able to resolve his case on such favorable terms,” Gunna’s attorney Steve Sadow said in a statement. “We know Gunna looks forward to both pursuing his highly successful music career and giving back to the community in which he works and lives.”
The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, entered a negotiated guilty plea Wednesday. According to a statement released through his attorneys, Kitchens said he entered what is known as an Alford plea, which was in his best interest, and at the same time maintains his innocence.
“While I have agreed to always be truthful, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have NOT made any statements, have NOT been interviewed, have NOT cooperated, have NOT agreed to testify or be a witness for or against any party in the case and have absolutely NO intention of being involved in the trial process in any way,” the rapper said in the statement.
Gunna was released from jail Wednesday afternoon. Kitchens’ sentence would be terminated after completion of his community service. He is to have no contact with co-defendants, no guns and, if called by any party during the trial, he reserves the right to assert his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
Kitchens was sentenced to five years, with one year commuted to time served and the rest of the four years of his sentenced suspended and subject to special conditions including 500 hours of community service. He is required to spend 350 hours speaking to young men and women about the hazards and immorality of gangs and gang violence and the decay it causes in the community, Sadow said.
“I love and cherish my association with YSL music, and always will. I look at this as an opportunity to give back to my community and educate young men and women that ‘gangs’ and violence only lead to destruction,” Kitchens said in a statement.
Gunna’s guilty plea comes a day after alleged gang co-founder and co-defendant Walter Murphy entered a guilty plea on a single count of conspiracy to violate the racketeer influenced and corruption organizations (RICO) act. According to court documents, Murphy was sentenced to 10 years, with one year commuted to time served and nine years of probation, as part of the negotiated plea.
Murphy, Kitchens and Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, were among 28 defendants named in the sweeping gang indictment. Authorities say Williams and Kitchens are leaders in the gang; their attorneys have contested the charges for months.
In the statement, Kitchens said he joined YSL in 2016 and did not consider it a gang, just a group of people from metro Atlanta with common interests and artistic aspirations.
“My focus of YSL was entertainment - rap artists who wrote and performed music that exaggerated and ‘glorified’ urban life in the Black community,” Kitchens said.
Jury selection is scheduled to start Jan. 4. Motions hearings are scheduled for Thursday and Monday.