Young Thug case: After 9 months, jury seating begins this week, judge decides

Judge Ural Glanville speaks to a juror during proceedings for the “Young Slime Life” gang trial in Atlanta on Monday, October 23, 2023. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

Judge Ural Glanville speaks to a juror during proceedings for the “Young Slime Life” gang trial in Atlanta on Monday, October 23, 2023. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

After more than nine months of jury selection, Judge Ural Glanville will begin seating a jury in the sweeping “Young Slime Life” gang case this week.

Last week, Glanville scheduled the seating of the jury for the Monday after Thanksgiving, but moved it to Wednesday after attorneys raised concerns relating to demands for speedy trials.

Motions regarding the use of song lyrics as evidence are scheduled for next week.

Brian Steel, who represents Young Thug, raised concerns noting his client was indicted in May 2022 despite the speedy trial demands filed on his behalf. Steel filed most recently for his client, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, in August.

Under Georgia law, a jury has to be seated and sworn into service by the end of the speedy trial deadline. In Fulton County, that’s two terms of court, each of which are about two months long.

Brian Steel, attorney for Atlanta rapper Young Thug, is seen in court during the ongoing “Young Slime Life” gang trial in Atlanta on Monday, October 23, 2023. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

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Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Statutory speedy trial time deadlines were suspended in the Atlanta Judicial Circuit until July 2 due to the pandemic.

In response to Steel’s concerns, Chief Deputy District Attorney Adriane Love asked the judge to begin seating a jury as soon as possible, or at least before a new term of court begins Nov. 6.

“We don’t want to lose the opportunity to proceed with this prosecution,” Love said Monday.

Fulton County Deputy District Attorney Adriane Love is seen during the ongoing “Young Slime Life” gang trial in Atlanta on Monday, October 23, 2023. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

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Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

The process begins Wednesday with the 48 jurors who have been qualified after a lengthy and laborious process. Glanville has not indicated how many strikes each side or defendant will get but on Monday denied motions for additional strikes.

A similar issue was raised recently when Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer charged with former President Donald Trump in Fulton County’s election interference case, filed a speedy trial demand. If a jury had not been found within two weeks, the charges against him would likely had been dismissed.

It was all moot after Chesebro entered a plea deal, the day jury selection was set to begin.

The YSL case has been repeatedly slowed by wayward jurors, leaked evidence and drugs inside the courtroom, among other bizarre circumstances.

Last week, a prospective juror was handcuffed and detained for six hours over emails the judge said were sent to court staff. The juror was released and order to spend the second week of trial in the courtroom.

In April, another prospective juror spent about five hours in custody after the judge scolded her for filming court proceedings on her cellphone.

Earlier this year, a third juror was ordered to write a 30-page essay after traveling to the Dominican Republic instead of coming to court.

A fourth juror was ordered to sit through the first five days of the trial and complete 10 hours of community service after the judge reprimanded him for discussing the case and messaging a reporter about it.

Since jury selection began, one defense attorney was arrested, another had his laptop seized and a courtroom deputy was jailed for allegedly having an inappropriate romantic relationship with one of the defendants. There have also been instances of drugs being brought into court and law enforcement officers scuffling with defendants.

With terabytes of discovery evidence and hundreds of witnesses expected to be called by the state, the trial could last up to a year when it begins in earnest.

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