Gunna denied bond, pleads not guilty to violating RICO act

The rapper's trial is scheduled to begin in January 2023

Gunna has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

After being named in a 28-person grand jury indictment that also included Young Thug earlier this month, the rapper was taken into custody on May 11.

Gunna (real name Sergio Kitchens) is charged, along with the other 27 people listed in the 56-count indictment, with conspiracy to violate the state of Georgia’s RICO Act.

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The indictment centres around the YSL record label and collective, formed by Thug (real name Jeffery Lamar Williams) in 2012, which authorities claim is a “criminal street gang”. Part of the indictment is based around Williams, Kitchens and other YSL associates’ lyrics and social media posts allegedly being “acts in furtherance of the conspiracy”.

Gunna has been denied bond, with his trial scheduled to begin on January 9, 2023.

In a statement to Pitchfork, Gunna’s lawyer Steven H. Sadow said: “The Court was obviously concerned about threats and intimidation of witnesses. We believe when the Court hears evidence, not just the words of the prosecutor, it will find that Sergio’s release on bond will not, directly or indirectly, pose a significant risk to witnesses. We look forward to having an evidentiary hearing on this as soon as the Court permits.”

The rapper’s legal team previously responded to the RICO indictment, describing it as “intensely problematic”. They also asked the judge to reconsider keeping him in jail until trial, saying he’s living in “intolerable conditions”.

“It is a miscarriage of justice that Kitchens languishes in intolerable conditions in jail (locked down 23 hours, seven days a week ‘for his own protection’) while the ‘investigation continues’ with – as of yet – not a shred of evidence that he is involved in any intimidation or threats or obstruction of justice,” Sadow wrote (via Billboard).

lyrics
Lyrics are making up a large proportion of evidence in the current case against Gunna and Young Thug in Georgia. CREDIT: Getty Images.

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Young Thug‘s lawyer also hit out at the rapper’s “dungeon like” prison conditions in an emergency filing.

Brian Steel said the rapper was being held in “solitary confinement” in a “windowless cement compartment with only a bed and a toilet and an overhead light which remains on 24 hours per day,” according to a motion filed on May 13 (via Rolling Stone).

“Mr. Williams, an innocent man, who is wholly isolated from the world, must obtain immediate relief,” Steel added.

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