YSL trial down to 11 defendants. Here’s why.

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

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

‘No foreseeing when opening statements will actually commence,’ attorney says

Two pregnant defense attorneys agreed to have their clients’ cases severed from the sweeping Fulton County gang trial involving Atlanta rapper Young Thug and his alleged associates.

Attorneys Teombre Calland and Nicole Fegan, both of whom are expecting, consented to the state’s motion to have their clients tried separately on Wednesday.

“My client agrees it’s in his best interest to sever at this time,” said Fegan, who represents Tenquarius Mender. “Especially since there’s no foreseeing when opening statements will actually commence. He’s supportive of my journey into motherhood.”

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Calland represents defendant Kahlieff Adams, who is already serving a life sentence for murder in an unrelated case. Chief Judge Ural Glanville said both defendants would be tried by the spring of 2024, if not sooner.

Both attorneys initially hoped to stay on during the high-profile trial, but said they need to take maternity leave given the slow pace of jury selection, which started Jan. 4. Neither defendant wished to find a new lawyer, prosecutor Adriane Love told the judge earlier this year, so the state asked to sever the two defendants’ cases in the interest of “judicial economy.”

The severances bring the number of remaining defendants set to stand trial together to 11.

Mender and Adams were among 28 people indicted last year in the sprawling “Young Slime Life” racketeering case. They are among nine defendants set to be tried separately, including Miles Farley, who was granted bond after his attorney was arrested at the courthouse last month for allegedly having his prescription medication outside its original container.

Eight other defendants were released after accepting plea deals offered by the state.

Love said prosecutors offered Mender a “very generous” plea deal last year, which he turned down. As for Adams, who is already serving a life sentence, the state said there’s nothing the prosecution could offer that would modify his sentence.

Prosecutors say YSL is a southwest Atlanta gang responsible for much of the city’s violent crime. Young Thug, who’s real name is Jeffery Williams, is accused of being a co-founder and leader of the gang. His defense attorneys strongly contest the charges and say YSL is simply the name of the star’s record label.