Hip-hop artist Young Thug was arrested on May 9 in Atlanta along with fellow rapper Gunna, who is signed to Young Thug’s record label YSL Records, and more than 20 other associates for alleged gang activity as part of a 56-count RICO indictment. Since then, Gunna and Young Thug’s brother, who was also indicted, have both taken plea deals. And according to well-known journalist George Chidi, there’s a reason why the feds aren’t making a deal with Young Thug. He’s the primary RICO target, said Chidi.
RICO — the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — is a federal law that allows for prosecution and civil penalties for racketeering activity. It was originally used in the 1970s to prosecute the Mafia and others involved in ongoing organized crime.
Young Thug was charged with participation in criminal street activity and conspiracy to violate the RICO Act, according to the indictment, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.
Chidi, who has written for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Magazine, and Vice, among other media outlets, earned an MBA from Georgia Tech. He also holds a journalism degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
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“For everyone talking about how Young Thug is ‘standing strong'” ‘ by not taking a plea agreement: the district attorney’s office isn’t offering Jeffery Williams any deal that doesn’t leave him in prison forever. He’s the target of this case. Everyone else is optional,” Chidi pointed out on Twitter.
His thread continued, “My read here is that the DA will deal out (almost) everyone else if it means improving their chances of convicting Young Thug. The operating philosophy as described to me by an ADA is to ask “absent this person, would this crime still happen?” If the answer is yes, cut a deal.”
He added that the District Attorney in the case really only has sights set on Young Thug.
“If the gang targeted someone for shooting, who pulled the trigger is less important to Willis’ office than who turned on the green light. I’m rather surprised at the deals that have been made, but in that context it makes sense. The DA’s office says Thug was the shot caller,” Chidi tweeted.
On Dec.14, Gunna was released from jail after he pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge. Gunna faced one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Act.
The artist entered a negotiated plea, known as an Alford plea, in which a defendant doesn’t admit he committed the crime but acknowledges that it is in his best interest to plead guilty, WSB-TV reported. Gunna had been sentenced to five years, with one served in prison. The one-year sentence was commuted to time served. The four-year remaining balance on his sentence has been suspended, and he must do 500 hours of community service.
Young Thug’s brother negotiated a plea deal on Dec. 20. Quantavious Grier, who performs under the moniker Unfoonk, pleaded guilty to one count of violating the state’s RICO act and one count of theft by receiving stolen property, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Grier’s original 12-year sentence was split into two years being commuted to time served and the other 10 years on probation, Variety reported. Grier must also perform 750 hours of community service, maintain a curfew, and he is not allowed to contact his brother or any of the people involved in the indictment.
This booking photo provided by Fulton County Sheriff’s Office shows a booking photo of Atlanta rapper Young Thug. The Atlanta rapper, whose name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, was one of 28 people indicted May 9, 2022, in Georgia on conspiracy to violate the state’s RICO act and street gang charges, according to jail records. (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via AP)