May 13, 2022
Motion seeks bond for jailed rapper Young Thug, reports say
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ATLANTA (AP) — Attorneys for Young Thug, who was arrested this week under an indictment accusing him of co-founding a violent street gang, filed an emergency motion Friday seeking bond for the Atlanta rapper, calling his jail conditions “inhumane.”
The performer, whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, was arrested Monday at his Atlanta home.He’s one of 28 people indicted in Georgia’s Fulton County on racketeering charges. Prosecutors say the gang committed multiple murders and shootings over roughly a decade.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the bond motion was filed Friday. In it, Young Thug’s lawyer, Brian Steel, said his client has spent the past four days in isolation “as if he is a forgotten person alone in the world,” according to that and other local news outlet reports.
The motion contended that overhead light is kept on 24 hours a day, preventing Williams from sleeping, the newspaper reported. Williams’ attorneys also said he is being served “inedible” food, and hasn’t been given the opportunity to exercise, shower or interact with anyone other than his lawyers.
Williams remains held at the Cobb County jail as he awaits a bond hearing in Fulton County Superior Court.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis announced the charges Tuesday. Prosecutors say that in late 2012, Williams and two others founded Young Slime Life, a violent criminal street gang that’s commonly known as YSL and is affiliated with the national Bloods gang.
The 88-page indictment filed Monday in Georgia’s Fulton County quotes lyrics from multiple music videos as evidence and accuses alleged gang members of committing violent crimes to collect money for the Atlanta gang, promote its reputation and enhance its power and territory. It also alleges that Young Thug rented a car that was used in a gang murder.
Steel, the rapper’s lawyer, had earlier told news outlets that “Mr. Williams committed no crime whatsoever” and he would “fight till his last drop of blood to clear him.”
Also charged in the indictment was rapper Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens. Gunna was booked into a jail in Atlanta on a racketeering charge Wednesday. It was not immediately clear whether he had a lawyer who could comment on the charge he faces.
Among his other successes, Young Thug co-wrote the hit “This is America” with Childish Gambino, making history when it became the first hip-hop track to win the song of the year Grammy in 2019.
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Prideful texts may keep Proud Boy leader jailed; plus Oath Keeper sedition trial updates
Urging that Henry “Enrique” Tarrio remains in prison before his conspiracy trial this summer, federal prosecutors reminded a judge in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday that the last time the leader of the extremist network was out on bail, he helped orchestrate the attempted overthrow of the U.S. government.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly did not issue a decision on Wednesday afternoon. He told prosecutors and Tarrio’s defense attorney, Nayib Hassan, that he required more time to weigh the wealth of evidence presented against the ringleader before deciding whether to keep him jailed in rural Virginia.
Prosecutors asked Kelly to zero in on texts housed in a Proud Boys encrypted group chat where Tarrio appears not only to oversee the plot to stop Congress from certifying the count on Jan. 6 but proudly take credit for the destruction.
In one post during the fray at the Capitol, Tarrio exclaimed: “Don’t fucking leave” and in another, when a Proud Boy asked him in their group chat if they were “militia yet,” Tarrio responded affirmatively.
“Make no mistake...” Tarrio wrote. “We did this.”From US v. Tarrio indictment.
Further, prosecutors argued that the video footage of Tarrio meeting in an underground parking garage with Oath Keeper leader-turned-seditious conspiracy defendant Elmer Rhodes should bar pretrial release.
Rehashing details of the meeting, prosecuting attorney Jason McCullough emphasized that the rendezvous was also attended by Trump activists Bianca Garcia of Latinos for Trump, Josh Macias of Vets4Trump, Oath Keeper attorney Kellye SoRelle, and freelance photographer Amy Harris. And according to court records, one of the participants discussed the Capitol during the 30-minute huddle in the garage of the Phoenix Park Hotel.
But Tarrio’s defense attorney insisted that the meeting was simply an opportunity for Tarrio to get legal advice from Rhodes or SoRelle, given his arrest just 24 hours before. Tarrio had a warrant out for his arrest for the December theft and burning of a Black Lives Matter flag.
That garage meeting occurred just one day before the insurrection. Tarrio had been released from jail on the theft and arson charges and was ordered to leave town. But he didn’t. At least, not directly.
Prosecutor Jason McCullough said Wednesday Tarrio disregarded the instructions to leave and that ultimately, the meet-up wasn’t about legal advice: The meeting was a chance for Tarrio to set up his communications for the impending attack.
These were channels that he set up, that he “entrusted to men that he selected” to storm the Capitol, McCullough said.
But at this point, whether Tarrio, now facing further lengthy confinement after being indicted, thinks his cohorts on Jan. 6 went too far was of no matter to the Department. At this point, Tarrio is simply a danger if released.x
DOJ says Tarrio, PBs had a mission to obstruct the certification. Whether Tarrio, later, sitting down may have thought co-conspirators went too far, it isn't a discussion to be had today. Today it is about a man who after being released for the destruction of public property...— Brandi Buchman (@Brandi_Buchman) May 18, 2022
Incidentally, Elmer Rhodes, like Tarrio, is being detained in Virginia but in a different facility than the Proud Boy leader. Tarrio has proposed a $1 million bond with family and friends putting up real estate to pay for his release. Rhodes has not been able to secure his release ahead of trial.
Meanwhile, a day earlier in another courtroom in Washington, attorneys for Oath Keepers facing seditious conspiracy charges went before U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta to have a variety of requests considered, including a motion dropping several of the most severe charges like sedition.
Some defendants also renewed a request to shift the venue for trial from D.C. to a courthouse in the nearby city of Alexandria, Virginia.
The venue shift will likely be denied. Others have attempted to do this and have failed so far. In truth, though the defendants prefer the arena of the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria because they believe the jury will be different or at least, more favorable, the fact of the matter is that there is a negligible geographical divide between this part of Virginia and D.C.
With less than 15 minutes between the Alexandria courthouse where they would be tried and the Capitol, the jury pool would still very likely be made up of federal workers and others who have an awareness of Jan. 6.
As for Oath Keeper co-defendants Thomas Caldwell, Kelly Meggs, Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, Jessica Watkins, and David Moerschel, they have united behind a shaky argument: The seditious conspiracy count should be dismissed because, technically, no one was officially executing any laws on Jan. 6.
RELATED STORY: Oath Keeper leader wants charges dropped, joins push for new trial venue
Judge Mehta, according to BuzzFeed, was highly dubious of that argument.
When Congress met on Jan. 6, they did so to count the certified Electoral College votes sent to them by the states. Even if the defendants argued that a specific official was not present, the whole of the government itself was executing the Constitution’s 12th Amendment on Jan.6.x
Mehta sounds skeptical of the idea that no official in the Capitol on Jan. 6 — VP Pence + members of Congress — were "executing" the 12th Amendment and accompanying statute re: certifying the election (3 USC 15) that day under the plain meaning of that term— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) May 17, 2022
Co-defendant Hackett tried poking holes in the sedition charge as well by arguing it was too vague, but he failed to gain much traction. Co-defendant Edward Vallejo also tried to have the charge dismissed, according to WUSA9, but Mehta reemphasized to all parties during questioning that the initial grand jury indictment did present evidence of a seditious conspiracy that operated in violation of the 12th and 20th Amendments.x
Judge Mehta asks Peed, shouldn't he view the grand jury's indictment as saying they found sufficient evidence of seditious conspiracy against all three laws? (The 12th Amendment, the 20th Amendment at Title 3, Section 15)— Jordan Fischer (@JordanOnRecord) May 17, 2022
Thus far, no attempt to dismiss the seditious conspiracy charges has been successful.
Joshua James, one of the Oath Keepers that ended up cooperating with prosecutors, requested to have the conditions of his release modified on Monday too. Itching to get off home confinement, James argued his good behavior should warrant a curfewed release plus additional time out of his home to attend therapy twice a week. Judge Mehta granted the request.
As for defendant Kelly Meggs, his recently disbarred attorney Jonathan Moseley finally stepped down from the case. According to the docket, Moseley has been replaced by attorneys Stanley Woodward and Juli Haller. Woodward and Haller already represent Connie Meggs, Kelly’s wife. She is facing charges in a separate Jan. 6 Oath Keepers case and Mehta said Tuesday he would review whether a conflict of interest exists.
Notably, Haller is one of the pro-Trump attorneys who faced sanctions last summer for failing to investigate the false claims of election fraud peddled in the so-called “Kraken” lawsuit launched by Sidney Powell and Lin Wood. Haller is also a former Trump appointee; she served as the Housing and Urban Development adviser until she resigned in November 2020, two weeks after the election.
Attorney Stanley Woodward is already representing other Jan. 6 defendants including Ryan Samsel. Samsel is accused of knocking down a police barricade that forced an officer to fall to the ground and suffer a concussion.
Another status hearing will be held in the Tarrio case on Thursday.Daily Kos relies on readers like you. We don't have billionaire backers like some right-wing media outlets. Half our revenue comes from readers like you, meaning we literally couldn't do this work without you. Can you donate $3 right now to help Daily Kos keep fighting?