Atlanta rapper Gunna pleads guilty in racketeering case
December 15, 2022
ATLANTA (AP) — Rapper Gunna, who was arrested earlier this year along with fellow rapper Young Thug and more than two dozen others, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Atlanta to a racketeering conspiracy charge, according to a statement. published by his lawyers.
Fulton County prosecutors obtained the sweeping 88-page indictment in May that alleges members of the criminal street gang Young Slime Life committed violent crimes to raise money for the gang, promote its reputation and increase its power and territory.
Gunna, whose first name is Sergio Kitchens, appeared in court on Wednesday and entered what is called an Alford plea, which allows a person to maintain their innocence while acknowledging that it is in their best interests to plead guilty.
“Although I have agreed to always tell the truth, I want to make it perfectly clear that I did NOT make a statement, that I was NOT interrogated, that I did NOT cooperate, that I 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 lawsuit in any way,” the rapper said in the communicated.
Kitchens was sentenced to five years, with credit for time served and the balance suspended, said Steve Sadow, one of his lawyers. He must also complete 500 hours of community service, including 350 hours to speak “to young men and women about the dangers and immorality of gangs and gang violence, and the degradation it causes in our communities”, a wrote Sadow in an email. He is also not allowed to have firearms or come into contact with other accused persons, except through his lawyers or his music label.
The trial of the other defendants in the indictment is due to begin next month.
Young Thug, whose first name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, co-wrote hit ‘This is America’ with Childish Gambino, making history by becoming the first hip-hop track to win Song of the Year Grammy in 2019. Fulton County prosecutors say that in late 2012, he and two others founded Young Slime Life, a violent criminal street gang commonly known as YSL and affiliated with the national Bloods gang. He pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
Separately, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Walter Murphy, another person charged in the indictment, pleaded guilty on Tuesday. Prosecutors said he co-founded the Young Slime Life gang with Williams. Murphy was sentenced to 10 years, including one year commuted to time served and nine years probation, the newspaper reported.
Kitchens said in his statement that when he joined YSL in 2016, he didn’t see it as a gang but rather “a group of people from metro Atlanta who had common interests and artistic aspirations.” Its focus was the entertainment, he said, “of rap artists who wrote and performed music that exaggerated and ‘glorified’ the urban life of the black community.”
Kitchens is signed to Williams’ Young Stoner Life label. He scored his second No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart with “DS4Ever” this year.