ATLANTA — The Fulton County district attorney is seeking to postpone the RICO trial against Young Thug and other alleged members of the Young Slime Life street gang by more than two months.
In a filing submitted Thursday, DA Fani Willis is asking for the trial - currently scheduled to begin Jan. 9 - to be delayed until March 27.
Willis argues the delay is necessary because eight of the 26 defendants in the RICO case still do not have defense counsel (with a ninth whose lawyer has filed a motion to withdraw), and it's her position that "all defendants need to be tried together."
"The State believes that future appointed counsel will not have a reasonable time with which to properly prepare their defenses," the filing states.
The filing says there are three terabytes of data included in discovery in the case that defense lawyers would have to sort through, likely while they have "other matters pending during the three months prior to this trial."
The motion is likely to face serious pushback from the defense attorneys for Young Thug, Gunna and others in the case.
The rappers have been held without bond since being arrested in May, and their attorneys have sought their release on bond several times since. A late March trial would mean Young Thug, Gunna and the other defendants will have spent more than 10 months in jail without a conviction before the case goes to court.
"Mr. Williams and I oppose the State’s Motion to Continue and delay the trial date until March 27, 2023," Young Thug's attorney Brian Steel said, referring to the rapper by his legal name Jeffery Williams. "The prosecution has opposed pre-trial bond for Mr. Williams, an innocent person who is bond eligible. Delay of our January 9, 2023 trial date is unjust and unconscionable."
The lawyer for Gunna, Steve Sadow, said (referring to the rapper by his legal name Sergio Kitchens): "Sergio Kitchens (Gunna) is not guilty of the one charge against him and will be ready for trial whenever the Court directs. But it is time for his pretrial detention to end, and we are hopeful the Court will agree and release him on a reasonable bond at the hearing on October 13.”
Sadow will be seeking bond for a third time for Gunna in that hearing after some of the most serious charges against the rapper were dropped last month.
Noting that Young Thug's attorney filed a motion for a speedy trial, Willis' filing states a late-March trial would still "protect the rights of all defendants - both the defendants who have requested a speedy trial and those who have not yet been appointed counsel - while also ensuring witnesses are not retraumatized, judicial efficiency is maintained and that the trial is ultimately fair and equitable to all defendants."