ATLANTA — The Fulton County district attorney says gang sympathizers are threatening the life of a witness and their family in the criminal case against rapper Young Thug and 27 other alleged gang members.
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Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis says discovery, in legal terms, is material one side turns over to another after an indictment to even the playing field before trial. In the YSL gang racketeering case, Jeffery Williams, known as the megastar rapper Young Thug, is the best-known of more than two dozen defendants.
Willis’ office has discovered a document and part of a cooperating witness’ statement, that was posted on social media.
The life of that witness, a cooperating YSL associate, and that witness’ children are in jeopardy as a result.
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Willis says authorities are still investigating who leaked the discovery material.
A new indictment last week added new charges against Williams and a handful of other defendants in the case.
Williams’ attorney Brian Steel and the district attorney seem to agree. Steel says it puts people at risk and taints the jury pool. He wants it to stop immediately.
“Whomever is placing items of discovery online is not doing anybody a favor. It is totally inappropriate to try this case in social media. This case will be tried fairly and justly in Fulton County Superior Court,” Steel said.
Concerning the re-indictment, Steel said, “Mr. Williams has committed no crime whatsoever. I look forward to the commencement of the jury trial.”
The district attorney’s office says it was happy with a July 6 order issued by the judge in the YSL case.
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“We’re having to ask for further restrictions making it even more clear that this is inappropriate to be able to share information with the general public,” Willis said.
Willis says she wants the judge to tell defense lawyers not to give discovery documents to their clients, although they can look at them.
When asked if there are still threats, Willis answered, “Absolutely, there are threats.” When asked, given the allegations in the indictment, if she believes they’re idle threats, she answered, “I do not.”
Ms. Willis says steps have been taken to protect the alleged witness and the witness’ children.
“We’re going to have to do things to make sure that the witnesses are safe. We need people to understand that they can cooperate. They can do the right thing and the state will be here to protect them,” Willis said.
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