Artist News Legal

Young Thug allowed to keep his lawyer as he fights racketeering charges

By | Published on Monday 6 June 2022

Young Thug

Young Thug lost his bid for bail last week, but was allowed to continue working with his current lawyer, as he fights various charges relating to his alleged involvement in the Young Slime Life gang in Atlanta.

The rapper – real name Jeffery Williams – was charged last month, alongside fellow rapper Gunna and 26 others, with numerous counts of racketeering. He is accused of co-founding the gang that went on to commit murders, shootings and carjackings – crimes he then allegedly bragged about in his music videos.

Williams is being represented in the criminal case by his longtime attorney Brian Steel. But prosecutors tried to have him removed from the case on the basis he has previously represented some of the other 27 defendants accused of involvement in the Young Slime Life gang.

Although Steel is not representing those other alleged gang members in this case, prosecutors argued that his existing connection with them could impact on their ability to negotiate plea deals with the other defendants. Which is to say, prosecutors might offer other defendants a deal on what charges they face in return for testifying against Williams, but Steel working for the rapper could influence said other defendants in those negotiations, creating a conflict of interest problem.

But, the rapper’s team argued, that was mere speculation on the prosecution’s part, and should not affect Williams’ right to choose his own legal representation. According to Billboard, Steel told the judge hearing the case: “I have been with Mr Williams for countless days, weeks, months and hours. I know his entire life. That is the bond of an attorney-client relationship”.

Although acknowledging that there could be conflict of interest issues down the line in this case, the judge agreed that those concerns were speculative at this stage. He wrote last week: “I understand about the serious potential for conflict [but] I don’t think that we have that yet as to Mr Steel”.

However, he also added: “I am putting all counsel on notice that there is a strong possibility that, given discussion that may be had in the future, this may require re-evaluation. I do have some really strong concerns [and] the potential for divergent interests is great. That’s where I think we may have some issues in the future”.

The prosecution in Georgia are likely to present Young Thug’s music and videos as part of their case against the rapper, a tactic that has proven controversial elsewhere in the US, and which could well be restricted in the near future in New York State.