Charlie Buttrey

July 6, 2024

I know very little about the rap star Young Thug (though if you really have nothing to do, you can check out his Wikipedia entry HERE), but he is on trial in Atlanta.  The State alleges that Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, is the leader of “Young Slime Life,” which, the State contends, is a criminal street gang responsible for robberies, retaliatory shootings and at least three homicides.

The trial has been an unbelievable circus. Jury selection began on Jan. 4, 2023 and took 10 months. Opening statements were in late November. Last Monday was the 88th day of trial, but so far, fewer than 80 of the prosecution’s 200-plus witnesses have been called to testify, and the trial is expected to drag on to next year. Imagine being a juror on that panel. And then imagine, after having sat through it all, being designated an alternate?

Did I mention that there are 25 co-defendants, all of which are waiting to go to trial?

But I digress. I believe I wrote that this has been an unbelievable circus, This past week it got even more circus-ier.

The presiding judge eventually had a private meeting with the prosecutor and a State’s witness. Young Thug’s attorneys were not invited. When one of Young Thug’s attorneys, Brian Steel, complained to the judge that such a meeting is, you know, in violation of the rules of judicial conduct, the judge demanded that Steel tell him how Steel learned of the meeting. When Steel refused, the judge held him in contempt, had him removed from the courtroom (ordering Young Thug’s other attorney to continue, even though he insisted that he could not proceed without his co-counsel) and sentenced Steel to serve the next 10 weekends in the Fulton County jail. To Steel’s credit, he asked if he could spend the time in the same cell as his client.

The judge is up for re-election in November.

I’m so glad we don’t elect judges in Vermont and New Hampshire.


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