ATLANTA — The trial of Atlanta rappers Young Thug and Gunna and 26 other defendants is set to start in January in Fulton County.
Prosecutors had filed a motion hoping to delay the trial until March, but Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville denied that on Thursday and set jury selection to begin Jan. 5. The fact that most defendants have not been granted bond factored into his decision, Glanville said.
“Most of these people have no bonds, that is something that weighs heavily on the court in terms of a start date for this trial,” Glanville said. “They deserve to have a right to go to trial.”
Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, and Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, are among the 28 people charged in a sweeping gang indictment. The two are believed to be leaders of a criminal street gang responsible for much of Atlanta’s crime, authorities have said.
Attorneys for the two rappers have contested the charges for months, arguing in hearings and court filings that their record label, YSL, is not a violent gang.
Young Thug and Gunna were recently nominated for Grammys in the best rap performance and best rap song categories for their song “pushin P.”
Attorneys representing some of the defendants argued Thursday that the state’s motion for a continuance be denied.
Prosecutor Adriane Love said there are at least three defendants who are unrepresented at this time. Glanville said those cases can be severed at a later date and he will consider motions from other defendants to have their cases tried separately. The state continues to argue the defendants should be tried together.
“Because all 25 defendants currently in custody were alleged to have participated in the same conspiracy — that is: the YSL criminal street gang — they should be tried together,” District Attorney Fani Willis wrote in a recent motion.
Love said the state has identified around 300 witnesses for the trial and expects to have a more precise answer on how many will be called at a later hearing. Glanville said he expects the trial to take six to nine months and that the jury will not be sequestered.
“I know from historical trials of this nature, it’s going to take a while,” Glanville said.