DA Defends Lyrics Use By Referencing Unabomber – Billboard


With Young Thug’s gang trial set to start out later this month, Atlanta prosecutors are defending their plans to quote his rap lyrics as proof in opposition to him — together with by arguing {that a} manifesto written by the notorious Unabomber wouldn’t be inadmissible in court docket merely if it had been “set to music.”

Thug’s legal professionals say his music must be off-limits on the upcoming trial, echoing widespread criticism that the tactic violates the First Modification and unfairly sways juries. However with a decide set to resolve that problem this week, prosecutors aren’t precisely shying away from the controversial observe.

In a movement filed Friday (Nov. 3), the Fulton County District Legal professional’s workplace argued that the lyrics are clearly truthful recreation as a result of they allegedly present Thug (actual identify Jeffery Williams) and others admitting to being members of a felony enterprise known as YSL — the very crime they’re accused of committing.

“Gang lyric proof pertaining to the predicate offenses, YSL, its rivals, expectations, and behaviors are all extremely pertinent to the defendants’ states of thoughts and intent on this case,” the DA’s workplace wrote. “The defendants related to YSL for felony functions.”

In making these arguments, prosecutors additionally attacked the broader declare that rap music is commonly unfairly focused in felony instances. They accused Thug’s legal professionals of searching for an unreasonable “genre-based blanket exclusion” in opposition to any proof that was set “to a beat” — an consequence they mentioned would result in “an absurd consequence.” For instance how “ridiculous” that place is, prosecutors made a hanging comparability.

“Taken to its logical consequence, the protection would appear to opine that if the Unabomber’s manifesto had been set to music, it couldn’t be used in opposition to him in any court docket,” the DA’s workplace wrote. “In accordance with the protection’s argument, had the Turner Diaries been learn with background music, it couldn’t have been launched in opposition to Timothy McVeigh.”

The “Unabomber” refers to terrorist Ted Kaczynski, who killed three and injured dozens by mailing bombs to victims between 1978 and 1995. McVeigh was the white supremacist behind the Oklahoma Metropolis bombing in 1994, which left 168 individuals lifeless, together with 19 youngsters.

In court docket paperwork, prosecutors additionally laid out precisely which Thug lyrics they plan to cite in court docket through the trial, together with: “F– the snitches, should be in ditches”; “Gave the lawyer near 2 mil’ he deal with all of the killings;” and “I used to be a capo in my hood means earlier than a plaque or a point out.” Prosecutors additionally listed many different lyrics, together with by different YSL members, that they may reference to jurors.

Civil liberties activists and protection attorneys have lengthy criticized the usage of rap lyrics to win felony convictions. They argue that it unfairly targets constitutionally protected speech, treating hyperbolic verse as literal confessions; in addition they say it might unfairly sway juries by tapping into racial biases.

Lawmakers in California handed laws final 12 months limiting the usage of rap lyrics and different inventive expression as proof in felony instances, and a federal invoice in Congress that will impose comparable restrictions has been extensively supported by the music business. However absent such statutes, courts across the nation have principally upheld the suitable of prosecutors to quote rap lyrics, significantly in gang-related instances.

Thug and dozens of others had been indicted in May 2022 over allegations that his “YSL” group was probably not a report label known as “Younger Stoner Life” however a violent Atlanta gang known as “Younger Slime Life.” Prosecutors declare the group dedicated murders, carjackings, armed robberies, drug dealing and different crimes over the course of a decade.

After months of delays, a jury was finally seated final week, clearing the best way for the trial to kick off on Nov. 27 in opposition to Thug and 5 different remaining defendants. However earlier than then, Decide Ural Glanville should resolve on whether or not the jury can hear his lyrics as a part of the prosecution’s case.

In a movement final 12 months, Thug’s legal professional, Brian Metal, argued that utilizing the lyrics as proof was “racist and discriminatory” and would go away the jury “poisoned” in opposition to his consumer. The usage of that time period was maybe an allusion to a 2014 ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Courtroom, which overturned a taking pictures conviction on the grounds that “inflammatory rap verses” had risked “poisoning the jury in opposition to the defendant.”

“The admission and use of those lyrics/poetry/artistry in opposition to Mr. Williams in his upcoming trial could be a Constitutional violation and an abuse of discretion,” Steele wrote final 12 months in his movement to exclude them from the case. “Mr. Williams has absolutely the proper, like all individuals in America, to train lawful speech/expression.”

A listening to over the admissibility of lyrics is ready for Wednesday morning (Nov. 8).

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