YSL trial: Marijuana hidden in shoes, other smuggled items delay jury selection

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Defendants get new charges

Three incidents of contraband being brought into the courthouse have delayed the already lengthy jury selection process in the YSL trial against Atlanta rapper Young Thug and more than a dozen other defendants.

On Tuesday, a defendant’s mother was arrested after allegedly bringing “tobacco products” to her son in a bag of clothes, according to her arrest warrant. On Wednesday, another defendant was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital following a separate instance of contraband being brought into court for a third consecutive day of court proceedings.

ExploreYSL trial: Jury selection off to a slow start

Last week, Fulton County Chief Judge Ural Glanville said an unidentified person brought clothing to one of the defendants with marijuana hidden in the shoes.

“At a security checkpoint, some particular individual attempted to bring clothes for one of your clients,” Glanville told defense attorneys. ”There was contraband found.”

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, which handles courthouse security, said in a statement that court services deputies and staff members intercepted the clothing before the defendant received it. According to the sheriff’s office, no arrests were made in the incident.

Only defense attorneys are allowed to bring in clothing for defendants to wear. Since jury selection started, defendants have been wearing suits and dress shirts to court.

On Tuesday, Glanville put defense attorneys again on notice after someone allegedly tried to smuggle contraband to one of the defendants inside clothing. Glanville declined to say which defendant was involved at the time, but confirmed an arrest had been made and an investigation was underway.

According to the affidavit obtained by Channel 2 Action News, attorney Doug Weinstein, who represents Deamonte Kendrick, told deputies he received a bag containing clothes from his client’s mother. Weinstein also told deputies he received a text message from the mother of Kendrick’s child stating she had placed a sealed envelope inside of the bag. Kendrick is an Atlanta rapper who performs using the stage name Yak Gotti and is charged with multiple counts including murder.

Weinstein handed the bag to Fulton County deputies, who searched the bag and found a white envelope with tobacco wrapping paper and tobacco products, according to the warrant. Kendrick’s mother was arrested on the eighth floor of the courthouse, charged with one count of criminal attempt to commit a misdemeanor and released Wednesday on a $1,500 bond.

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

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

According to the affidavit, Kendrick’s mother told deputies she didn’t know what was inside the bag and simply handed it to Weinstein. A warrant was also issued against the mother of Kendrick’s child for criminal attempt with intent to commit a specific crime.

ExploreYSL trial: Who’s who and what are they charged with

Wednesday’s proceedings were delayed until Glanville announced there had been a third incident of contraband discovered.

“The reason for the delay is that we’ve had yet another instance of alleged contraband being introduced to our space. As a result of that and a subsequent investigation, one of our inmates unfortunately had to go to Grady hospital,” Glanville said before announcing the court would go into recess for the day.

Glanville did not name the defendant who had to go to Grady but did ask attorney Teombre Calland to confirm her client could not be present. Calland’s client is Kahlieff Adams, who is currently serving a life sentence at Hays State Prison after he was convicted of murder in 2019.

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

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

Adams is charged with conspiracy to violate the RICO Act, attempted murder and two counts of participation in criminal street gang activity.

Hearings cannot be held without all 14 defendants present in the courtroom, causing additional delays to jury selection.

The sheriff’s office said deputies stationed within the courtroom observed one of the defendants in possession of contraband, though the agency did not specify which defendant.

“Deputies quickly apprehended the detainee and took possession of the contraband, and completed a search to ensure no more contraband was present,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

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The sheriff’s office said the detainee now faces additional charges in connection to the possession of contraband and resisting deputies during an additional search. Adams was charged with possession of scheduled II controlled substances, two counts of willful obstruction of law enforcement officers, possession of marijuana less than an ounce and possession of alcoholic beverage by inmate.

Co-defendants Rodalius Ryan and Damone Blalock were also charged under the same case number. Ryan was charged with unauthorized possession of prohibited item by inmate and Blalock was charged with obtain/procure/give inmate prohibited item without authorization. All three had their first appearance during a lunch break in jury selection and all three were denied bond on their new charges.

Jury selection is expected to continue for several weeks.