Recording artist Jeffery Williams, 31, better known by his stage name, Young Thug, is facing compounding legal issues in Georgia amidst a slow start to his trial on racketeering (RICO) charges.
According to prosecutors, Thug and a co-defendant, Kahlieff Adams, engaged in a hand-to-hand drug deal that was caught on court surveillance footage – resulting in the third time jury selection has been paused in the wide-ranging conspiracy prosecution against the alleged Atlanta-area gang known as “Young Slime Life,” or YSL.
“Defendant Adams, who is currently serving a life-without-parole sentence for murder, conducted a hand-to-hand drug transaction with Defendant Jeffery Lamar Williams, in open court,” the state’s motion charging Khalieff Adams with numerous new charges begins.
Thug was not charged in relation to the contraband allegations – but the court took the opportunity to remind everyone of the rules.
“The reason for the delay is we’ve had yet another instance of alleged contraband being introduced to our space,” Judge Ural Glanville said after the new motion was filed by prosecutors late Wednesday evening.” As a result of that, and a subsequent investigation, one of our inmates, unfortunately, had to go to Grady Hospital.”
After the incident, Khalieff Adams was taken to a hospital because he allegedly ingested contraband in an effort to conceal it.
“I would just invite counsel to talk with their clients,” the judge said, exasperated. “This is the third time that we’ve had contraband introduced in this space…the court’s concern is this may pose issues to [the defendants] remaining and being present in this space.”
Suri Chadha Jimenez, an attorney for third co-defendant, Cordarius Dorsey, accused prosecutors of trying to gin up media coverage with the motion – and said deputies should be investigated for excessive force for allegedly using a Taser on Khalieff Adams after the hand-off.
“Mr. Adams was also transported because he needed medical assistance after being tased several times by officers,” Jimenez wrote in a motion obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Prosecutors subsequently charged him with one possession of a schedule II controlled substance, willful obstruction of law enforcement officers, possession of marijuana less than one ounce, and possession of an alcoholic beverage by an inmate.
In low-resolution footage obtained by Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB-TV and NBC affiliate WXIA, a person identified by authorities as Khalieff Adams appears to walk up to Thug, who is sitting down, and hand him something.
“Deputies quickly apprehended the detainee and took possession of the contraband, and completed a search to ensure no more contraband was present,” the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
According to law enforcement, deputies also found Percocet, marijuana, tobacco, and other forms of contraband wrapped in plastic – as well as food seasonings – on Khalieff Adams after the incident.
An attorney for Thug insists his client did nothing wrong.
“His side is the truth,” Thug’s attorney Keith Adams told WSB. “The reality is Mr. Williams had nothing to do with what went on in the courtroom on yesterday. One of the co-defendants on his way to the restroom attempted to pass something to Mr. Williams, who immediately turned it over to the deputy.”
Keith Adams also accused prosecutors of going too far – even though Thug has not been charged over the alleged contraband incident.
“The state’s motion is replete with factual inaccuracies, embellishments and attempts to make Mr. Williams responsible for someone else’s actions,” he said in a statement provided to the Journal-Constitution. “The end result of an investigation into (Wednesday’s) incident was that Mr. Williams was not engaged in any wrongdoing.”
Prosecutors may yet charge Thug over the contraband allegations but have said that a decision will only be made, one way or the other, after a full investigation into the incident has been completed, WSB-TV reported.
In a statement to the TV station, Khalieff Adams’ attorney, Teombre Calland, urged restraint and accused the state of wrongdoing.
“On behalf of Mr. Adams, these allegations are simply that: mere statements made by the state in an effort to thwart the lengthiness of the jury selection process,” the attorney said. “Mr. Adams adamantly maintains his innocence and looks forward to the conclusion of this trial.”
Thug and Khalieff Adams have pleaded not guilty to the RICO allegations against them.
Prosecutors allege Thug is the leader of the so-called YSL gang and is charged with eight violations of the Peach State’s RICO statute. Due to the large number of defendants, each of whom has their own attorney and legal interests, the trial is expected to take at least half a year – and maybe substantially longer.
The 31-year-old rapper won a Grammy in 2019 for his work, including background vocals and the outro, on “This is America,” a hit socio-political anthem penned by Childish Gambino and Ludwig Göransson.
[image via screengrab/WSB-TV]
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