Attorneys for Gunna have filed a third bond motion for the Atlanta artist, this time claiming that the Fulton County prosecutor’s office has modified the YSL indictment to remove any reference to him being involved in violence. Rolling Stone has received a copy of the filing, which is the latest attempt at pretrial release for Gunna (given name Sergio Kitchens) while awaiting trial on a racketeering charge in a 56-count YSL indictment handed down in May.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville has twice denied Kitchens’ bond motions, expressing concerns that the rapper would threaten or intimidate witnesses if he was freed. But the latest motion, filed Monday by Kitchens’ lawyer Steven Sadow and several other attorneys, refutes Fulton County prosecutors’ earlier claims that Kitchens was “directing the violence” with Young Thug in an alleged Young Slime Life (YSL) gang.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Sadow said that the rapper “ is very hopeful that the Court will now recognize that the discovery provided by the prosecution fails to show his pretrial release poses a significant risk of danger to any person or the community or poses a significant threat to witnesses, and accordingly grants a reasonable bond.”
The bond filing claims that Kitchens “has been dropped from overt act 75” of the YSL indictment, which refers to a May 2018 traffic stop in which he and Young Thug (given name Jeffery Williams) were stopped for speeding. Police also stopped the vehicle behind the two, which contained four of their alleged associates armed with numerous weapons, including an AK-47.
Kitchens’ lawyers also claim that “the ‘ongoing investigation’ has failed to verify a single instance in which one single person has actually made an accusation that Kitchens has threatened anybody (directly or indirectly).” The rapper’s lawyers contend that “the DA has pruned the indictment in the superseding indictment to remove virtually any reference to Kitchens’ involvement in any violence-related offense.”
In a previous hearing, the prosecution noted that they “expect” to add more evidence to one of their claims against Kitchens. His lawyers are challenging that, noting, “detaining Kitchens on the basis that ‘the state will file a notice [supposedly with reasons for detaining him]’ sometime in the future makes a mockery of the due process clause,” adding that “the court may not detain someone on the basis the prosecution is developing its case and will present the evidence at some future undetermined time.”
“The prosecution has been afforded ample time to develop evidence to support its motion to detain Kitchens. It has not succeeded,” his lawyers claim.
Kitchens was arrested in May and charged with a single count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO Act. Fulton County prosecutors allege that Young Thug’s Young Stoner Life record label is also a gang called Young Slime Life, with Thug and Gunna being leading figures in the purported criminal organization.
The YSL indictment has drawn widespread criticism from criminal justice reform advocates due to the use of YSL artists’ lyrics as evidence. The prosecution’s evidence of Kitchens’ alleged Young Slime Life ties includes him wearing YSL and Slatt chains in the late Lil Keed’s “Fox 5” music video, as well as two lyrics from he, Thug, and Yak Gotti’s “Take It To Trial” song: “for slimes, you know I kill” and “pay for that casket, that’s just if we whack ’em.”
Kitchens’ co-defendants Yak Gotti and Young Thug were arrested in May on RICO charges. In August, Williams’ was re-indicted on nine more charges, including participating in criminal street gang activity, violating the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and a new charge of possession of a machine gun related to a raid on his Atlanta home. Williams’ lawyer Brian Steel claims he “has committed no crime whatsoever.” Similarly, Gunna’s attorneys say that he “ has been languishing in jail for nearly five months. Franz Kafka would be shocked to learn that ‘imprison him now; present the evidence sometime in the future,’ appears to be the State’s reality in Fulton County.”
Gunna’s trial is set to start in January of 2023.