YSL judge orders investigation into source of leaked evidence

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Judge Glanville denies defense attorney’s motion for mistrial

The Fulton County judge presiding over the sweeping “Young Slime Life” gang case is ordering an investigation after a leaked interrogation video was posted online and viewed “millions of times.”

Chief Judge Ural Glanville also reminded defense attorneys and prosecutors of their obligations to keep certain evidence confidential ahead of the high-profile trial.

“It affects everyone’s right to a fair trial,” the judge told attorneys Wednesday. “I don’t know who did this but if this pertains to you, please amend your ways. You’re playing a very dangerous game with your six-digit bar number.”

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Wednesday’s hearing came two weeks after the release of a video showing a 2021 interview in which a state’s witness offers to provide information in the years-long investigation of Atlanta rapper Young Thug in exchange for leniency.

Defense attorney Gina Bernard, who represents defendant Jayden Myrick, recently filed a motion seeking a mistrial.

“While said evidence may not directly implicate my client, it along with all of the publicity and courtroom incidents since the start of this trial ... make it impossible for him to receive a fair trial, as well as a jury that is honestly and truly fair and impartial,” Bernard wrote.

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

In their response, Fulton prosecutors accused the defense of leaking the video, arguing it was posted online less than a month after being turned over as discovery.

“The state has absolutely no interest in leaking this video to members of the public, as its dissemination serves only to intimidate and harass witnesses called upon by the state to testify in a very serious and high-profile case,” prosecutors wrote in their response.

The district attorney’s office said the leaked video puts their cooperating witness in danger, and included several screenshots of social media posts labeling the man “as a ‘rat’ and a ‘snitch.’”

The judge said he doesn’t know who is responsible for the leaked video. He denied Bernard’s motion for a mistrial, but instructed both sides to be more cautious about how they share discovery evidence going forward.

“For me to have to deal with this at this point in the trial is just unacceptable,” he said.

As a result of the leaked evidence, prosecutors have asked that the judge further restrict access to certain discovery in the case. They also said that if the leaks continue, they would request that certain material only be made available inside the DA’s office on the third floor of the courthouse.

Glanville warned attorneys that if more evidence is leaked, he will restrict them to only reviewing discovery in his chambers.

Defense attorneys pushed back against the state’s allegations that they’re responsible for the leaks, saying their clients have the right to review as much evidence as possible ahead of trial.

Suri Chadha Jimenez, who represents Cordarius Dorsey, said the video could have been obtained and leaked by anyone because prosecutors have been sharing evidence through an unsecured Dropbox link.

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Several attorneys also accused the prosecution of not turning over its evidence in a timely manner, which they said hinders their ability to defend their clients.

The state’s case centers around Atlanta rapper Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Williams. Prosecutors say the Grammy Award-winning artist is the leader of YSL, a violent street gang responsible for much of Atlanta’s violence. His attorneys argue YSL is just a record label and strongly deny the charges.