ATLANTA — In a case that many argue is all about music, stardom, and freedom of expression, defense attorney Brian Steele asked the judge to let the jury watch a certain music video to prove that Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, is not part of a gang.
Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes was inside the Fulton County courtroom Thursday when the judge watched the music video to determine if it would be shown.
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Steele believes the video proves that Young Thug is not part of a criminal gang because there are other rappers in the video doing the same hand movements and they’re not accused of being a part of a gang.
The song “Lifestyle” by music label Rich Gang features Young Thug, another Atlanta native Rich Homie Quan, and hip-hop icon Birdman.
“We’re here with an allegation of a criminal street gang and I think I’m entitled to show the jurors what Rich Gang is, that is their music compilation,” Steele told Judge Ural Glanville.
The defense attorney also addressed Young Thug and his 5 codefendants wearing the color red. The State argues that all defendants are a part of Young Slime Life, an Atlanta-based branch of the National Bloods gang.
Chief Judge Ural Glanville told Steele that he believes the jury should see the video, he just does not think the state’s witness Trontavious Stephens is the best witness to be on the stand when the video is presented.
“I believe your evidence is for a proper purpose I just don’t believe that Mr. Stevens is the right person – at this time,” he said.
Back in November, Judge Glanville ruled that song lyrics would be allowed as evidence under certain conditions in the trial.
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Just before court ended for the day, during cross-examination, Steele asked Stephens whether he had seen celebrities doing certain things that emulate ‘gang’ signals or actions.
“Do you know who Serena Williams is?” Steele asked.
“Yeah,” Stephens answered.
“Have you seen her at Wimbledon doing what’s called the Crip Walk? Do you know what Crip Walk is, first of all?” Steele continued.
“Um, I don’t really watch tennis,” Stephens replied.
Steele even took the questioning further by asking Stephens if he had ever seen NBA star, LeBron James promote and advertise wiping his nose and saying slime to his teammates while shaking their hands.
“Have you seen LeBron James do a video, put out a video wiping his nose saying slime to his teammates?” Steele asked Stephens.
“Lebron James, he got a different handshake for each player,” Stephens said.
“Did one of them include wiping nose, saying slime?” Steele asked.
“Lebron may have done that,” Stephens stated.
The trial is set to resume on Monday, January 22.
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