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Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Young Thug’s Attorney Condemned and Sentenced to Jail in Georgia Case

By meerna Jun12,2024

ATLANTA – The judge overseeing the criminal racketeering case against Young Thug on Monday ordered the Atlanta rapper’s lead lawyer arrested and held in contempt after he accused the judge and prosecutors of inappropriately meeting with a key witness in the case.

Brian Steel, a prominent Atlanta criminal defense attorney, was escorted from the courtroom by Fulton County sheriff’s deputies after a confrontation with Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville regarding a private meeting the judge and prosecutors held Monday morning with Kenneth Copeland, the alleged Young Bandit’s associate and key witness in the gang conspiracy case.

Approaching the podium after an afternoon recess, Steel told the judge that an anonymous source had given him details of a meeting between Glanville, prosecutors and Copeland, a juror who was sentenced to prison on Friday for contempt after refusing to testify in the case.

Steel alleged that Copeland confirmed his refusal to testify during Monday’s meeting and that Glanville and prosecutors told Copeland that if he refused to cooperate, he would face jail time until the end of the trial. He said the conversation prompted Copeland to change his mind and testify on Monday.

“If this is true, we are dealing with coercion, witness intimidation and ex parte communications where we have a constitutional right to be present,” Steel told Glanville.

“How did you get this information? Who told you?” Glanville asked.

When Steel refused to reveal his source – claiming that doing so violated attorney-client protections and the “work product” privilege – Glanville ordered him to be held in criminal contempt and remanded in custody.

Attorney Brian Steel was jailed in Atlanta for contempt of court on June 10 after failing to provide information to Judge Ural Glanville. (Video: Allie Caren/The Washington Post)

The judge later allowed Steel to return to the courtroom while proceedings continued, but said he would jail him unless he revealed the source of the information. “If you don’t tell me, you’ll be in custody at five o’clock this morning or whenever we finish,” Glanville warned.

Late Monday afternoon, after hearing arguments from Steel’s attorneys, Glanville sentenced Steel to 20 days in the Fulton County Jail. This sentence ordered him to be served on weekends starting the following Friday. Steel asked the judge to allow him to spend that time in the Cobb County Jail, where Young Thug is being held, rather than the Fulton County Jail, which Glanville said he would consider.

Proceedings in the case resumed Tuesday as Steel’s lawyers sought to appeal the contempt ruling.

Glanville did not comment on the substance of Steel’s claims, although he told Steel and his co-counsel, Keith Adams, that someone had given them incorrect information and argued that whoever disclosed that information had violated attorney-client privilege.

“I tell you this morning, nothing was given, nothing was said, nothing, anything,” Glanville said. The judge denied multiple requests by defense lawyers to have the trial mistrialed and also refused to provide an immediate transcript of the meeting, even though a court reporter was present.

Adriane Love, an assistant Fulton County district attorney and the lead prosecutor in the case, also denied any impropriety, saying on the record that a meeting between the judge, prosecutors and Copeland was held to discuss the contempt charge against Copeland.

The dramatic development came as the racketeering trial against Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, dragged on at a glacial pace, marred by jury and witness problems and other daily confusion that engulfed the high-profile prosecutor’s office, led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis (no).

The Young Thug case is one of two high-profile criminal cases handled by Willis’ office. Last summer, a veteran prosecutor brought charges against former President Donald Trump and more than a dozen of his associates, charging them with a criminal conspiracy to try to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia.

That case is stalled as Trump and others appeal a judge’s decision to allow Willis to continue pursuing the case amid allegations that she had an inappropriate romantic relationship with the case’s former lead prosecutor.

Young Thug and 27 other associates were indicted in May 2022 as part of a wide-ranging grand jury indictment that accused the rapper and his associates of membership in a violent Atlanta street gang.

Prosecutors accused Young Thug of being the head of a gang known as YSL, or Young Slime Life, and charged him with racketeering and gang charges, while others were charged with other brutal crimes, including murder and attempted robbery.

Young Thug’s attorneys countered by claiming that YSL was merely a record label and attacked prosecutors for introducing Young Thug’s lyrics as evidence in the trial, arguing that his rhymes were merely an artistic expression and not a literal description of criminal acts.

Several people charged in the case ultimately pleaded guilty or had their cases dismissed. Currently, the trial of Young Thug and five alleged associates is pending in court, which has been characterized by constant delays.

Jury selection began in January 2023, and opening statements were released on November 27, more than 10 months later. Tuesday marked the 89th day of testimony, and prosecutors had less than half of their proposed witness list. This is already the longest criminal trial in Georgia’s history, and some defense lawyers warn that the proceedings may last until 2025.

As the drama unfolded on Monday, Glanville, who had faced heavy criticism for his handling of the trial, refused to stay proceedings, accusing defense lawyers of trying to “force the court” by refusing to proceed until it was clear what had happened between the judge, prosecutors and Copeland was terminated. Glanville said he would not pursue the case until Steel identified his source, which the lawyer repeatedly refused to do.

When Glanville ordered him arrested, Steel calmly stood up and took off his jacket and tie. He then walked up to the podium and told the judge he was violating his client’s rights. “You are removing me against his will, my will, and you are taking away his right to counsel,” Steel told the judge before being led out of the courtroom.

At one point, lead prosecutor Love pressured Glanville to let Steel back into the courtroom, a sign of the high stakes in a case that drew intense scrutiny from everyone involved, including the judge and Willis, who was criticized for it. decision to pursue extensive racketeering cases involving multiple defendants.

These events shocked the Atlanta legal community. A group of criminal defense attorneys gathered outside the courtroom late Monday to express solidarity with Steel, including Ashleigh Merchant, an Atlanta-area attorney who chairs the state criminal defense association and appeared in court to represent Steel in the case contempt.

Steel’s wife, Colette Resnik Steel, who is also a lawyer, filed a notice of intent to appeal her husband’s contempt judgment, though Glanville argued that Steel had no right to an appeal or even a bond hearing.

“He received the due process he expects,” Glanville said. He ordered Steel imprisoned but said he would lift the contempt order if Steel revealed his source.

Chris Timmons, a former Atlanta prosecutor who has known Steel for years, said he was baffled by what happened Monday. “Brian is one of the most ethical lawyers I know. He is respectful. He is polite, and to look down on him is madness,” Timmons said. “This case is out of line.”

By meerna

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