The Fulton County District Attorney’s office has taken steps to keep a witness in the Young Thug trial in protective custody after the witness received death threats from persons the D.A called “sympathizers” of the YSL gang.
The D.A announced the latest move to protect the witness who was identified as a YSL member by hip-hop bloggers on social media. The witness’ identity and documents related to his agreement to cooperate with prosecutors was leaked earlier this week, leading to many on social media referring to the witness as a “rat” and “snitch.”
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fulton County prosecutor Don Geary requested that Superior Court judge Ural Glanville to also restrict discovery as sensitive evidence risked being leaked. The prosecutor wants the documents to become available closer to the trial’s start date in January 2023.
“We found a lot of information concerning one of our witnesses on basically a (celebrity news) outlet,” Geary told the judge.
In the meantime, Young Thug remains behind bars and is likely to be there until the trial start date as the rapper was denied bond for the third time on Thursday during a court appearance.
Young Thug, along with fellow rapper Gunna and 26 others, were charged with violating the Georgia racketeering act. Prosecutors allege that the rapper’s YSL outfit is a criminal enterprise and that he and his cohorts terrorized the Fulton County area from 2012-2022. The defendants are alleged to have committed hundreds of crimes, including murder.
Young Thug is also facing separate charges for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition found in his house when police raided it in May during his arrest.
Meanwhile, on Monday last, the D.A applied for the court to order that all evidence shared in discovery to the defense teams be restricted only to the attorneys. The D.A Fani Willis said that “the names of all lay witnesses (and) cooperating YSL associates that will be called to testify in this case” were recently shared with the defense teams, but “since the date of those filings, however, information from the state’s discovery material has appeared on public websites.”
She added that the state had “grave concerns about the safety of that named witness and other potential witnesses in this trial.”
Meanwhile, one of Gunna’s attorneys, Kristen Novay, asked for the prosecution to provide evidence that there were threats.
“We want to know what specific threats there are,” Novay said. “There have been many allegations that there are threats to witnesses, and to date we have received no discovery, not a single shred of evidence from a witness who was actually threatened,” she said.
The prosecution has not materially responded with any evidence.