Sergio Giavanni Kitchens, more commonly known by his stage name Gunna, was born in College Park, Georgia. He has risen to epitomize chart-topping hits in the hip-hop and rap industry. He also unveiled a unique musical style that resonates with fans worldwide.
Young Thug’s record label, YSL Records (Young Stoner Life Records), welcomed Gunna into its ranks. Subsequently, industry powerhouses 300 Entertainment and Atlantic Records affixed their signatures to an agreement with him.
This was not merely a coincidence. Gunna’s ascent towards fame and stardom blossomed internationally, with his journey marked by significant milestones.
Behind the music industry’s glitz and glamour, a dramatic twist in Gunna’s life unfolded. This left fans and onlookers in disbelief.
Gunna became entangled in an unsettling legal web that sent shockwaves through the scene. His arrest on May 11, 2022, became the catalyst for an unforeseen turn – he faced charges related to criminal street gang activity, along with conspiracy for violation of the RICO Act.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO Act) is a federal law that the state has adopted with broader coverage as it does not always require monetary profit.
District Attorney Fani Willis proclaimed that fame will offer no protection to those who dare enter Fulton County and engage in criminal activity. Such is particularly true when these violent crimes are associated with street gang operations. The ensuing repercussions are destined for severity.
With such circumstances surrounding the famous rapper, you may be curious whether he is, was, or will be in jail. What are the details behind his arrest?
This article not only tackles the questions surrounding Gunna’s indictment but also explores its details. It offers insights into his ongoing legal battles and sheds light on the complexities of his situation.
Why Was Gunna Charged?
Jeffery Williams, known by his stage name Young Thug, and Gunna, whose legal name is Sergio Giavanni Kitchens, among others, were accused of being part of a group called “Young Slime Life.”
Singling out Williams as the gang’s leader, the 88-page indictment charges him with involvement in racketeer-influenced and corrupt organizations, among other crimes.
Only one count of conspiracy to violate RICO, essentially membership in the gang, had officially confronted Gunna.
The indictment barely acknowledged Gunna, known as Sergio Kitchens legally, merely referencing him a few times. They based most of their argument on his social media posts or song lyrics to establish his alleged affiliation with the gang.
Gunna proclaimed his innocence in a statement he shared after his arrest. He mentions that nothing will obstruct the pursuit of his dreams, and he won’t stop being a good person – even if certain accusers who remain unnamed and unknown desire to tarnish his reputation.
Where Does the YSL Trial Stand?
Shortly after Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, became entangled in an extensive RICO trial situation, he made a plea behind bars.
Williams conveyed in a broadcast at Hot 97’s Summer Jam, emphasizing that the situation extended beyond him or YSL.
He highlighted his commitment to using his music as a medium for expressing his artistic aspirations, voicing concerns about the restricted liberties of Black musicians and fellow rappers.
Moreover, Young Thug urged supporters to endorse the Protect Black Art initiative and remain hopeful for their future, expressing his deep appreciation.
The Protect Black Art initiative is a collaborative effort initiated by 300 Entertainment’s founder, Kevin Liles, who played a crucial role in Young Thug’s early career trajectory and the establishment of YSL, and Julie Greenwald, a leading figure at Atlanta Records.
This initiative seeks legislative changes at various governmental levels to curtail the use of rap content as testimonial evidence in legal proceedings.
This call from the rapper Young Thug came amidst an exhaustive 56 counts of RICO charges targeting him, Gunna, and a significant portion of the Young Stoner Life ensemble.
A detailed 88-page indictment from the grand jury presents YSL, referred to as “Young Slime Life,” as a potentially harmful entity.
The document specified 182 alleged group engagements in gang and criminal activities, referencing their music, online communications, and SLIME-marked wearables to bolster these claims.
The selection of jurors for the trial has been in progress since January 2023, but as of now, no juror has been chosen.
Various controversies have marked the trial’s commencement. One of the latest issues involves an accusation of a deputy smuggling contraband to one of the defendants currently facing trial.
Akeiba Stanley, a former Fulton County deputy, stands accused of attempting to bring in contraband to Christian Eppinger, an alleged YSL gang member.
Moreover, several co-defendants named in the wide-ranging indictment have been dropped from the case either as a result of plea bargaining or because they lacked representation.
When Was Gunna Released From Prison?
Gunna was released from incarceration in December 2022 after entering into an Alford plea, a legal maneuver where a defendant maintains innocence but pleads guilty.
In his statement, the rapper expressed that the plea arrangement was made in his best interest while simultaneously asserting his innocence regarding the same charge.
Gunna clarified in his statement that his agreement did not involve cooperating with the case or committing to provide testimony during the trial.
He also stated that he had no intention of being involved in the trial process.
However, it should be noted that the agreement seems to indicate that if summoned to testify in the trial by any party in this case, he is obliged to testify truthfully, though he can reserve the right to assert the 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
Gunna Shares First Photo Since Release From Jail, Calls for Young Thug to Be Freed
After admitting guilt to a racketeering charge, Gunna, who had been released from incarceration, shared a photo of him living the urban life on his social media platform.
He did this not only to celebrate his regained freedom but also to vociferously advocate for the release of others who were facing similar accusations.
In a photo on his Instagram account, the rapper lounges on the living room couch.
Sergio Kitchens, better known as Gunna, provided the following caption for his post: “N****s acting like they switching to a side, but it’s only one side.”
Upon his release, Kitchens’ attorney clarified that the rapper had indeed agreed to enter an Alford plea, a strategic move that permits defendants to profess their innocence while acknowledging, at the same time, potential condemnation if the case were taken further and proceeded to trial.
Kitchens stated that he underscored his commitment to truthfulness. He asserted that he had not proffered any remarks, participated in interviews, and, more significantly, neither cooperated nor agreed to testify for or against any party implicated in the case.
With absolute clarity, Kitchens expressed his disinterest in involvement with the trial process.
During his court appearance related to the plea, Kitchens acknowledged that he recognized the focus of YSL as both a music label and a gang. He also added that he possessed personal knowledge that members or associates of YSL had engaged in criminal activities to further the gang’s objectives.
He also acknowledged that the following statement, recited by a prosecutor, was attributed to him: “I recognize, accept, and deeply regret that my talent and music indirectly furthered YSL the gang to the detriment of my community. YSL as a gang must end.”
Through a statement made after his release, Kitchens recounted the time he first joined YSL in 2016.
He remarked that, during his induction, the group didn’t appear to him as a gang. Instead, he saw it as an assembly of individuals from metro Atlanta who shared common interests and artistic goals.
Furthermore, Kitchens asserted that his focus within YSL was purely on entertainment.
Atlanta Rapper Gunna Pleads Guilty in RICO Case, Released From Jail
Sergio Kitchens, known in the music industry as Gunna, and Jeffrey Williams, popularly known as Young Thug, have been named in a legal indictment related to the RICO Act.
The legal proceedings suggest that they were members of a group known as Young Slime Life or YSL, which, prosecutors believe, has been involved in criminal activities in the city for a significant duration.
After agreeing to a guilty plea, the legal team for Gunna mentioned that Kitchens would avoid a prison sentence. The agreement entails him serving a five-year sentence, of which he’s required to be in prison for one year.
However, this has been reduced to the time he’s already spent in custody, and the remaining duration has been suspended.
According to a December 2022 news article, Kitchens must fulfill 500 hours of community service. Out of these, 350 hours will be dedicated to guiding the youth about the perils of associating with gangs and the consequent violence.
Ural Glanville, the Chief Judge of Fulton County Superior Court, has ordered that Kitchens must avoid interacting with the others named in the indictment. While he’s expected to provide honest testimony if summoned by any involved party, he can exercise his Fifth Amendment rights.
In a public statement, Gunna stated that when he joined YSL in 2016, he viewed it as a collective of individuals from the Atlanta region who shared mutual interests and creative goals.
For him, YSL was primarily about entertainment, comprising rappers who emphasized the challenges of urban existence in the Black community through their music.
With the music industry closely watching, Gunna raised concerns about the diminishing freedoms of Black musicians, especially rappers.
He prompted his vast audience to support legislative changes that ensure rap content isn’t misused as testimonial evidence in legal arenas.
These challenges, especially when they overlap with other criminal allegations like money laundering, can carry severe penalties.
What Is an Alford Plea?
An Alford plea permits a defendant to acknowledge sufficient evidence for a conviction while still maintaining their claim of innocence.
This type of plea is akin to a nolo contendere plea, where the defendant neither admits nor denies the charges, but it results in bypassing the comprehensive criminal trial procedure because the defendant accepts the consequences that come with a guilty finding.
The primary distinction between the two plea types lies in their expressions: in an Alford plea, the defendant actively concedes guilt, whereas in a nolo contendere plea, they neither confirm nor refute their guilt.
One of the implications of this difference is that an admission made under an Alford plea can potentially be used against the defendant in subsequent legal actions.
While plea bargains like the Alford plea can expedite legal proceedings, it’s important to note that they’re not an inherent right. Their availability is contingent upon the discretion of the prosecuting team and the presiding judge.
Interestingly, the legal intricacies surrounding the Alford plea have gained attention recently.
For instance, Donald Trump has hired Steve Sadow to represent him in the Atlanta RICO Case, the same attorney who represented the hip-hop artist Gunna.
Gunna’s New Song “Bread & Butter” Addresses Plea Deal, YSL RICO Case
Following his release from incarceration due to a plea arrangement connected to the YSL RICO charges, Gunna introduced a fresh track, presenting his perspective on the case.
Sources within the music industry highlight that this is the artist’s initial song after he was set free in December 2022.
Within “Bread & Butter,” the track’s title, Gunna confronts allegations of turning informant against others listed in the comprehensive legal indictment.
This includes his fellow artist, Young Thug. Young Thug is alleged by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office to have been running his Young Slime Life (YSL) music label as a covert gang.
Furthermore, Gunna doesn’t hold back in his rap lyrics, targeting Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis directly. He suggests in the song that Willis, alongside other legal professionals, acted deceptively, leading him to become unintentionally embroiled in their schemes.
- GUNNA BE IN COURT Who is Gunna and why was he arrested?
- Gunna’s new song ‘Bread & Butter’ addresses plea deal, YSL RICO gang case
- Everything We Know About YSL’s RICO Case
- Gunna shares first photo since release from jail, calls for Young Thug to be freed
- Atlanta rapper Gunna pleads guilty in RICO case, released from jail
- Alford plea https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/alford_plea#:~:text=An%20Alford%20plea%2C%20also%20known%20as%20a%20%22best%2Dinterests%20plea%2C%22%20registers%20a%20formal%20admission%20of%20guilt%20towards%20charges%20in%20criminal%20court%20while%20the%20defendant%20simultaneously%20expresses%20their%20innocence