Young Thug‘s long delayed trial began its jury selection process in Atlanta last week, with potential jurors being asked to answer a 250 question survey.
According to a tweet by reporter Michael Seiden, who has been covering the trial for WSB-TV, close to 600 residents of Fulton County have been summoned for jury duty. If chosen, they will be tasked with deciding Thugger’s fate, along with 13 members of his YSL crew, an acronym which interchangeably stands for his Young Stoner Life Records imprint and the Young Slime Life gang he’s been accused of co-founding.
The office of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis alleges that YSL is an affiliate of the Bloods gang and is responsible for murders, a number of armed robberies and assaults in Atlanta between January 2015 and May 2022. Young Thug and the other defendants were all arrested under an indictment in May on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) charges.
As part of the selection process, potential jurors were asked to fill out a questionnaire to help attorneys on both sides determine whether these Atlanta residents would be qualified to participate in the trial. Included in the survey are specific questions about YSL, including whether participants have heard of the label or the gang, whether they’ve attended a YSL concert, or know anyone who wears “Slime Life” clothing.
For the last week, potential jurors have been filling out juror questionnaires. They answered more than 250 questions. Here are some of the ones I found interesting:@wsbtv
— Michael Seiden (@SeidenWSBTV) January 7, 2023
The questions include general questions about people’s opinions on physical appearance, like “Do you have an opinion about a person who has head and neck tattoos?” or “Do you have an opinion about a person who has dreadlocks or tattoos?”
Elsewhere, jurors were asked if they were familiar with a number of rappers including Gunna, who accepted a plea deal in this case and is not expected to testify at Young Thug’s trial; Rich Homie Quan, Lil Wayne and Birdman, who have all worked with the rapper and appear on the prosecution’s witness list; and YFN Lucci, who is believed to have been the leader of a rival gang.
The questionnaire also asked the potential jury members how much they pay attention to a song’s lyrics, as Young Thug’s attorney’s continue to fight to have YSL’s music excluded from the evidence to be presented at trial.
“The admission and use of these lyrics/poetry/artistry against [Young Thug] in his upcoming trial would be a Constitutional violation and an abuse of discretion, too prejudicial and unconstitutional,” his legal team wrote in a motion last November. “Moreover, using these lyrics/poetry/artistry/speech against [Young Thug] is racist and discriminatory because the jury will be so poisoned and prejudiced by these lyrics/poetry/artistry/speech.”
However, the prosecution has defended their use of lyrics in the courtroom as they believe Thug’s words are “preserving, protecting and enhancing the reputation, power, and territory of the enterprise [YSL].”
On Wednesday (January 4), potential jurors watched a three-hour video of Judge Ural Glanville reading select lyrics from Thugger’s 2016 single “Slime Shit,” which prosecutors have sought to include as evidence, calling music released by the YSL crew “overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy.”
Jury selection in Young Thug’s trial is expected to last five to six weeks, while the trial itself could go on for up to a year.