The rapper — real name Sergio Kitchens — explained his plea in a statement issued via his lawyers. In it, Kitchens said he was taking an “Alford plea,” otherwise known as a “best-interest plea,” where the accused maintains their innocence while accepting a plea and the repercussions of a guilty verdict.
As WSB-TV in Atlanta reports, Kitchens was sentenced to five years prison, with one-year commuted to time served. The remaining four years were suspended, though will be subject to special conditions, such as completing 500 hours of community service.
Kitchens also said that, despite taking the plea deal, he would not be cooperating with prosecutors further: “While I have agreed to always be truthful, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have NOT made any statements, have NOT been interviewed, have NOT cooperated, have NOT agreed to testify or be a witness for or against any party in the case and have absolutely NO intention of being involved in the trial process in any way,” he said.
A representative for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment.
Kitchens was one of 28 people — along with fellow rapper Young Thug — arrested in May as part of a massive RICO Act indictment. Prosecutors have tried to paint both Kitchens and Young Thug (real name Jeffrey Williams) as the leaders of a YSL (Young Slime Life) criminal street gang in Atlanta. Both Kitchens and Williams were charged with conspiring to violate the RICO Act, while Williams was also hit with six additional gun and drug charges (Williams has pleaded not guilty). Controversially, the indictment cited Kitchens’ and Williams’ lyrics as evidence against them.
In his plea statement, Kitchens said he became affiliated with YSL in 2016, but said that he “did not consider it a ‘gang’; more like a group of people from metro Atlanta who had common interests and artistic aspirations.” He added, “My focus of YSL was entertainment — rap artists who wrote and performed music that exaggerated and ‘glorified’ urban life in the Black community.”
After explaining his decision to take the Alford plea, Kitchens said, “I love and cherish my association with YSL music, and always will. I look at this as an opportunity to give back to my community and educate young men and women that ‘gangs’ and violence only lead to destruction.”
The YSL trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 9, 2023.