AllHipHop.com has insights into Young Thug’s proposed witness list as he anticipates his trial on RICO charges.
The list is a veritable who’s who of the music industry, with Atlanta rappers T.Il and Killer Mike making the cut. Even more intriguing is the inclusion of Lyor Cohen, the Global Head of Music for YouTube, Julie Greenwald, the esteemed chairperson of Atlantic Records, and Houston rap legend Trae Tha Truth.
The trial, which has been a media magnet since Young Thug’s arrest in May 2022, is yet to have a confirmed date.
Authorities have painted Young Thug as the co-founder and leader of Young Slime Life, branding it a criminal street gang behind a slew of violent acts in Atlanta.
Contrarily, Young Thug’s defense remains steadfast in asserting that YSL stands for Young Stoner Life and is nothing more than a record label devoid of criminal undertones.
The lack of a trial date is highlighted by the prolonged jury selection process, which has been ongoing for over six months without any significant progress. The delay has been attributed to challenges in finding an unbiased jury, given the case’s high-profile nature and Young Thug’s celebrity status.
The extensive media coverage and public opinions have further complicated the selection process, making it difficult to pinpoint a date for the trial’s commencement. The strategic inclusion of industry stalwarts in the witness list clearly indicates the defense’s game plan.
By bringing in influential figures from the music world, they aim to underscore Young Thug’s professional affiliations and challenge the narrative of his alleged criminal associations.
The testimonies of these industry leaders could play a pivotal role in shaping the jury’s perspective and the trial’s outcome.
The outcome could have far-reaching implications, not just for Young Thug but for the broader music industry and its intersections with the law, specifically the use of rap lyrics in court.
The Black Music Action Coalition has introduced the Restoring Artistic Protection Act (RAP Act) to Congress to protect artists from the misuse of their lyrics in court. This bill, if passed, would limit the admissibility of an artist’s creative expression against them in court.
California has already taken a step in this direction by passing a similar law. The law was recently tested in the case of the San Bernardino man, Travon Venable Sr., who was convicted of murder five years ago because the prosecution used his rap videos as evidence against him.
An appeals court ruled that the video should not have been admitted as evidence during the trial, suggesting that racial stereotypes and bias were introduced into the criminal proceedings by allowing rap lyrics into evidence.