Rapper Gunna again denied bond in gang, racketeering case
ATLANTA (AP) — A judge in Atlanta on Thursday denied bond for rapper Gunna, who’s charged with racketeering along with fellow rapper Young Thug and more than two dozen other people.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville had previously denied bond for Gunna, whose given name is Sergio Kitchens, and on Thursday held a hearing on the rapper’s request to reconsider that decision. Glanville said he worried Kitchens might threaten or intimidate witnesses if he were released ahead of trial.
Prosecutors have said that Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, is a founder of a violent street gang in Atlanta called Young Slime Life and that Kitchens has a management role within the gang. The 88-page indictment filed in May alleges the gang committed multiple murders, shootings and carjackings over roughly a decade and promoted its activities in songs and on social media.
In a statement released on his birthday last month, Kitchens proclaimed his innocence.
Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Don Geary cited several crimes not related to the indictment that he said Kitchens might have been involved in and said the state continues to believe he shouldn’t be released on bond.
Steve Sadow, a lawyer for Kitchens, said prosecutors had failed to make any specific allegations or produce any evidence to show that his client is a threat to witnesses. Kitchens and his parents are willing to put up their property as collateral and Kitchens would agree to be on house arrest with electronic monitoring, Sadow said.
“The only thing that Mr. Kitchens wants under these circumstances is to be released, to be in his home, to be able to produce music and meet with counsel to prepare for trial in this case,” Sadow said.
Kitchens, who is signed to Williams’ Young Stoner Life record label, scored his second No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart with “DS4Ever” this year.
Glanville noted that he has not granted bond for any of the people charged in the indictment. He said he wants to get the case tried as quickly as possible. It is currently set for trial in January.
Prosecutors also asked in a court filing Tuesday that they be allowed to exclude contact information and home addresses of their witnesses from information provided to defense attorneys and to restrict information regarding statements by cooperating gang members until 30 days before trial. If they are required to provide the names and contact information for all witnesses, they ask that defense attorneys not be allowed to share the witness lists with their clients, clients’ family members or anyone else.
Prosecutors said they have “significant safety concerns” for their witnesses based on threats and violence from gang members.
Glanville on Wednesday issued a temporary order instructing defense attorneys to withhold contact information of prosecution witnesses from their clients. He said he will modify the order after hearing more evidence from prosecutors.