Young Thug Trial Paused Indefinitely Due to Alleged Misconduct by Judge

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The racketeering and gang conspiracy trial against Young Thug and five associates in Atlanta, Georgia—already the longest criminal trial in Georgia history at 18 months, with more to inevitably follow—has been paused indefinitely due to alleged misconduct by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville, reports The Washington Post. Earlier today, Judge Glanville announced that the case would not proceed until another judge decides whether he should recuse himself from overseeing the trial. This follows accusations from defense attorneys claiming that Judge Glanville held a secret meeting with prosecutors and key witness Kenneth Copeland to pressure him to testify, which the attorneys argue was improper and unconstitutional.

Earlier today, Glanville made the hearing public and announced plans to release the full transcript of his meeting with Copeland “so everyone will have a chance to look at it,” but then reversed course, notes The Washington Post. Glanville then said he would refer recusal motions to another judge to determine whether or not he should remain on the case.

Brian Steel, Young Thug’s lead attorney, previously questioned Glanville about the meeting and refused to reveal who informed him of it. As such, Steel was found in criminal contempt last month and ordered to serve 20 weekend days in jail. Disputes over Copeland’s testimony and evidence issues have also delayed testimony, with jurors last hearing statements on June 17.

Today marked the 100th day of proceedings since opening statements. Young Thug’s trial has been prolonged by a myriad of issues, most notably a jury selection process that took a grueling 10 months and, barely two weeks after the trial finally started in late November, another delay after one of Young Thug’s co-defendants, Shannon Stillwell, was stabbed in jail and hospitalized; Stillwell survived the attack. Prosecutors still aren’t halfway through their projected witness list, which includes over 200 people, and the trial is expected to last into 2025, notes The Washington Post.

Young Thug faces numerous charges, mostly based on the allegation that he led the Young Slime Life (YSL) gang, with ties to the national Bloods organization. In opening arguments, Adriane Love, the chief deputy district attorney for Fulton County, told the jury that YSL “moved like a pack,” with Young Thug “as its head,” while seeking to dominate the Atlanta area. The defense countered by claiming that YSL is simply a record label whose artists adhere to the conventions of rap music, presenting entertaining accounts of criminal life that its practitioners do not in fact carry out.

Steel previously said that Young Thug has “committed no crime whatsoever.” During opening arguments, he added that the rapper’s music tells a rags-to-riches story, from “depression, despair, hopelessness, and helplessness” to wealth and acclaim, and claimed Thug was now being exploited by the true criminals who would testify against him.

The judge has also allowed prosecutors to submit song lyrics as evidence, a controversial legal method that analysts have discredited.