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Ice-T On Young Thug RICO Case: "It's Easy To Make the Streets Think You're A Gangster..."

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The arrests of Young Thug and Gunna made international headlines this week, as the two Atlanta rap stars find themselves facing serious charges in an ongoing federal RICO case. In particular, Thug, legal name Jeffery Williams, faces several charges from Fulton County's district attorney, including that he was allegedly a founder and active leader of the violent Young Slime Life (aka YSL) street gang.

Ice-T famously emerged from Los Angeles street life to become a major Hip-Hop star and successful actor. After the story of the rappers' arrests broke, and when it became clear that RICO laws meant their lyrics would be used against them, Ice shared his thoughts via Twitter.

‘It’s Easy to make the Streets think you’re a Gangster," he tweeted. "It’s HARD to convince the Feds you’re NOT..’ Via ICE T."

The 80-plus page indictment charges both Young Thug and Gunna (legal name Sergio Kitchens) with gang-related crimes, and includes more than 25 others who have allegedly participated in YSL gang activity.  

“Mr. Williams came from an incredible horrible upbringing, and he has conducted himself throughout his life in a way that is just to marvel at,” Attorney Brian Steel told The New York Times.

11 Alive reports:

  • The indictment singles out Young Thug as a leader of the gang: The rapper is charged with "participation in criminal street gang activity" as an "organizer, supervisor, or other position of management or leadership" of several violent crimes, among them murder.
  • He is implicated as someone who could give gang orders: One section of the indictment says two other gang members accused of attempting to murder rapper YFN Lucci discussed "how to get permission from... Young Thug ... to kill Rayshawn Bennett (YFN Lucci) and what the payment would be to do so."
  • There is a second allegation like this: It states he was part of a call with an individual who was in Fulton County Jail, and in the call the man "stated he needed something." Young Thug allegedly "pointed to (another gang member) to take care of it and flashed a YSL gang sign."
  • His attorneys are trying to get him out of jail: They filed a motion on Tuesday that requests "an expeditious hearing" for a judge to considering giving the rapper bond.
  • It alleges he is a YSL founder: The document states Young Thug, legal name Jeffery Williams, was among four founders of the gang and "made YSL a well-known name by referring to it in his songs and on social media."
  • A key to the case is a 2015 murder: One of Young Thug's charges alleges he rented a car used in the January 2015 murder of Donovan Thomas, Jr., described as a "rival gang member." At the press conference Tuesday, DA Willis said that murder "created violence like Atlanta has never seen" and she framed it as a central event that led to the indictment this year.
  • What Willis said about the Donovan Thomas case: "It was a goal of my predecessor and any person or prosecutor in this office to make sure that family received justice, because everyone is entitled to justice. It was a commitment I made from my first day in office. Very shortly after becoming district attorney I sat down with Donovan Thomas' mother and I made her a promise that her son was as valuable as any other person in our community, that I would put resources on this case and do everything to make sure her son had justice. Yesterday was a proud day for me."
  • He is alleged to have posted on social media about the Thomas murder: It says he "did appear in a video released on social media 16 days after the murder," in which he appears to have spoken and referenced someone's court appearance: "So a ***** lie to they momma, lie to they kids, lie to they brothers and sisters then get right into the courtroom and tell the God's honest truth, don't get it, y'all ****** need to get ******* killed bro, from me and YSL."
  • He is alleged to have referenced gang activity with other gang leaders: A portion of the indictment says he spoke to a leader of the Sex Money Murder gang in a conversation in which they discussed: "Sacrifices must be made, soldiers must fall in order for battle to be won."
  • He is alleged to have referenced gang activity with another member: The document states he told another man, in reference to a stolen car, that "if he don't take it back" he would die.
  • A traffic stop is referenced: He is alleged to have been stopped with another vehicle (not the one he was driving), and in the other vehicle there were "four individuals who were armed with numerous weapons with high capacity magazines to include an AK-47 a 30 round magazine."
  • Young Thug faces some specific criminal charges in the indictment: Those are outlined below. They are all linked as an "overt act in furthering of the conspiracy" and an "act of racketeering" to advance gang interests.