YoungBoy Never Broke Again (aka NBA YoungBoy, real name Kentrell Gaulden) has been found not guilty in his California case regarding a federal weapons possession charge, a Los Angeles jury ruled on Friday (July 15).
As reported by Stereogum, the rapper was arrested in LA last March. It’s said that prosecutors in the city had a federal warrant out for Gaulden’s arrest – stemming from his September 2020 charges in Louisiana – and although he was cooperative with them at first, he eventually led the authorities on a “high-speed chase” in his Mercedes Maybach. When he was finally apprehended, prosecutors reportedly found Gaulden in possession of an FNX .45 caliber pistol, ammunition, cash and jewellery.
Gaulden’s lawyers reportedly claimed that the rapper attempted to evade the authorities out of panic, unbeknownst to him that there was a federal warrant out for his arrest. It’s also said that Gaulden’s lawyers argued he was unaware about the pistol being in his car, and that prosecutors were unable to find his fingerprints on it.
During the trial, judge R. Gary Klausner reportedly ruled against the consideration of lyrics in Gaulden’s songs as a form of evidence. It had been claimed by prosecutors that three of the rapper’s songs – ‘Gunsmoke’, ‘Life Support’ and ‘Lonely Child’ – had incriminated him by referring to “an individual connected to the purchaser of the gun, the gun model found in his car, and the [jewellery] maker of the [jewellery] found next to the gun”.
Gaulden’s lawyers reportedly challenged those claims, saying that the songs in question were to be considered “entertainment” and “not an admission of other bad acts”. They argued, however, that the songs “paint the rappers in a bad light and the jury may infer from the song that Mr. Gaulden is a violent person and take those feelings with them into the deliberation room”.
Gaulden was ultimately found not guilty by the jury, avoiding up to 10 years in prison. In a statement offered to Pitchfork, a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office in LA said: “We believe the evidence presented in this case supported the charges brought by the grand jury. While we are disappointed with the verdict, we respect the jury’s decision.”
The rapper is still facing a second federal trial in Louisiana, where he has also pled not guilty to the drug and firearm charges laid against him. He was arrested in the city of Baton Rouge in September 2020, and had been subsequently pinned with a total of six charges (three being drug-related, and the others pertaining to the illegal possession of firearms).
At the time of his arrest, Gaulden’s lawyers argued he was “innocent of the crimes he was arrested for” and “did not possess any firearms [or] any controlled dangerous substances”. Back in March, photo and video evidence supplied by prosecutors was thrown out by a judge, after it was claimed that the evidence had been obtained illegally.