Breaking News
More () »

Fulton DA blames defense lawyers for leak of YSL witness interview video

Citing the leak, DA Fani Willis is now also requesting new restrictions on how video evidence is shared with defense attorneys through the discovery process.

ATLANTA — In a blistering new filing, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis blames attorneys for the defendants in the Young Slime Life RICO trial for the leak of a police interview video featuring a man she plans to call as a witness.

Citing the leak, Willis is now also requesting new restrictions on how video evidence is shared with defense attorneys through the discovery process.

The video made its way to several social media platforms last week. Willis' filing highlights the reaction it received on those platforms, which included popular YouTube, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

On one YouTube video, according to the filing, it "drew commentary referring to the witness as a 'rat' who 'deserve every bullet he got coming.'" It also says people have left comments on the witness' personal Instagram page, "referring to the witness as a 'rat' and a 'snitch' whose death is warranted or even a foregone conclusion." (emphasis is at it appears in filing)

RELATED: Attorney pushes for mistrial after leaked video in YSL trial

The video, as posted on social channels, appears to show a young man speaking to two detectives in a small interview room. It's unclear when the interview took place.

He speaks with detectives about information he can provide, including an allusion to Young Thug having a role in an alleged planned murder. Prosecutors have alleged Young Thug is the leader of Young Slime Life, making him the focal point of the RICO case. 

"The State has no conceivable interest in and stands to gain no tactical advantage whatsoever from the leak of this media item to the public," Willis' filing states. "To the contrary, the State has reason to believe that the leak was accomplished by someone associated with one or more defendants in this case for purposes of intimidating other witnesses who may be called to testify in this case."

The filing implicates defense attorneys - of which there are many in the case, with at least 14 defendants going to trial, each of whose lawyers have their own access to evidence through discovery - by noting that the DA's Office had had possession of the witness interview video for more than a year before it leaked within 30 days of it being handed over to defense attorneys.

At least one defense lawyer moved for a mistrial based on the leak of the video.

Willis is now asking for an order that would only allow defense attorneys to view "audio and visual tapes, films and recordings (and any associated transcripts)" only at the DA's Office. It also asks for an order that the evidence "SHALL NOT be copied, duplicated, or reproduced in any way by defense counsel."

Additionally, Willis is requesting an investigation into the leak itself.


Before You Leave, Check This Out