Young Thug case: Potential juror detained over emails sent to court staff

Man excused, but ordered to sit through one week of trial.
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.com

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

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)

A prospective juror in the “Young Slime Life” gang case was handcuffed Monday morning and detained for six hours over emails the judge says were sent to court staff.

The juror was qualified in July and has since emailed Fulton County’s jury services about caring for his wife, the high-profile nature of the sprawling gang case and his belief that the defendants are guilty.

“Your correspondence with our jury clerk is improper because it violates all the admonitions that I told you not to violate,” Judge Ural Glanville told the man. “Why shouldn’t I hold you in willful contempt?”

It’s not the first time Glanville has had a prospective juror detained since jury selection started in January. In April, another juror was handcuffed and held at the courthouse for about five hours after she admitted to filming court proceedings on her cellphone. She was sentenced to three days in jail for violating the judge’s orders, but Glanville released her at the end of the day.

Jury selection in the case against Atlanta rapper Young Thug and others began Jan. 4. Jurors who have not been excused are instructed to call a number each night to find out when they are due back in court. A total of 49 jurors had been qualified before the Juror was excused.

On Monday, Glanville said he feels they have enough qualified jurors to begin seating a jury at this point in time. He schedule jury strikes tentatively for the Monday after Thanksgiving.

In one email, the man who was admonished and cuffed on Monday wrote that “it’s entirely unrealistic for me to have to keep calling every single night.” In others, he complained about not being able to take a vacation and said that his participation in the case is contributing to his wife’s anxiety and depression.

“I believe the defendants are guilty,” read one email underscoring his unwillingness to continue as a juror in the case. Standing with his attorney on Monday, he acknowledged he’d made mistakes.

“I’m extremely sorry, your honor,” he told Glanville. “I realize it was extremely inappropriate and I’m sorry. I was impatient and my emotions got the best of me.”

“I’m going to jail you for 48 hours,” the judge said, before instructing his courtroom deputy to handcuff the man and take him back to a holding cell. “I really want to jail you for 20 days.”

The prospective juror spent several hours in custody at the courthouse before being released just after 5:30 p.m. and excused from the case.

The former juror apologized for his actions and thanked Glanville for releasing him. As part of his sentence, Glanville ordered the man to sit through a week of trial.

If he fails show up, the judge told him he would be jailed for 19 days.

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

During questioning in July, the juror, who works as a data analyst, told the court that based on the reading of the indictment, he believed the defendants were guilty.

“There was so much evidence that it was hard to be impartial,” the man said on July 19. “I would find it hard to believe that a crime or crimes (were) not committed.”

The man ultimately said that he could be fair and impartial, so the judge qualified him at the time. On Monday, Glanville accused the man of being dishonest about his beliefs.

This marks the latest hiccup in a jury selection process that’s been repeatedly slowed by wayward jurors, leaked evidence and even drugs inside the courtroom.

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

Another juror was ordered to spend the first five days of the trial inside the courtroom and complete 10 hours of community service, after he got in trouble for following the case and messaging a reporter about it.

Defense attorneys review documents 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

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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