Gunna has entered a guilty plea to a racketeering conspiracy charge as part of a gang indictment against him and fellow rapper Young Thug, along with numerous alleged members of the YSL — for Young Slime Life — “gang.” Invoking the “Alford plea,” he maintains his innocence but accepts the punishment of a guilty verdict.
Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, will be released from a Georgia jail for one year of time served. According to Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News, the “Pushin P” rapper received a four-year suspended sentence and will be subject to special conditions including 500 hours of community service.
Gunna’s attorneys, Steve Sadow and Don Samuel, released a statement obtained by Complex in which the artist said he wanted 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.”
It’s more than likely Gunna will be called to testify as part of his upcoming trial, although he has the option to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights.
He continued: “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.”
Gunna had previously been denied release due to fears it might lead to witness intimidation back in October. At the time, it was reported that he would remain in jail until his January trial while his attorneys maintained that there was not a “shred of evidence” to justify keeping him behind bars before he has been proven guilty.
Gunna and fellow Atlanta rapper Young Thug, who remains in jail, were charged in May and named as part of an indictment alleging criminal activities relating to their association with the group YSL, which prosecutors claim is not only a record label called “Young Stoner Life” but also a “violent street gang” known as “Young Slime Life.” The indictment included 28 total defendants affiliated with YSL, charging them with 56 counts related to gang activity and racketeering.
This case sparked media attention and controversy not only because it involves two of hip-hop’s biggest names, but also because the court was using the rapper’s lyrics as evidence of their alleged crimes. Using lyrics as evidence in criminal trials has become a highly controversial practice that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has strongly defended.
In September, Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed The Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act, which restricts the use of rap lyrics as evidence in court in California, which the Black Music Action Coalition called a “crucial step in the right direction” of not injecting racial bias into court proceedings.