Young Stoner Life’s iconic emcee, lyricist and record producer Gunna is slated to return home after taking a plea in the RICO case. In a statement issued via his lawyers, Gunna – real name Sergio Kitchens – confirmed that he took the “Alford plea”, colloquially known as the “best interest” plea in which an accused maintains innocence while accepting the repercussions of a guilty verdict.
Notably, Gunna has revealed that he refuses to cooperate with the prosecutors any further about the RICO case. “While I have agreed to always be truthful, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have NOT made any statements, have NOT been interviewed, have NOT cooperated, 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 trial process in any way,” the “Pushin P” emcee said.
Gunna is one of the 28 members of the iconic Atlanta-based Hip-Hop act YSL arrested in May as part of the controversial RICO charges levelled against them. The indictment against YSL references “colors, clothing, tattoos, hand signs as well as verbal and written identifiers” that YSL allegedly uses, including wearing red or green bandanas, saying and writing the words “BLATT” meaning “Blood Love All the Time” or “SLATT” meaning “Slime Love All the Time.”
Earlier today, YSL tweeted a photograph of Gunna out of prison and being welcomed by the group.
“The tactics of using gang conspiracy charges and social media posts is all too common. Both prosecution tactics sweep broadly, capturing core suspects and hangers-on, and both tactics risk criminalizing innocent performative acts,” Andrew Ferguson, a professor of law at American University, spoke to Rolling Stone in May just days after the YSL indictment. “We all know social media isn’t real life, so it is quite dangerous to use a format known for image-making and status building as a mirror for real life.”
Controversially, the far-reaching 56-count indictment seeks to portray YSL as a criminal gang behind serious crimes including additional gun and drug charges. However, Gunna has asserted that neither he “did not consider it a ‘gang’; more like a group of people from metro Atlanta who had common interests and artistic aspirations.” He added, “My focus of YSL was entertainment — rap artists who wrote and performed music that exaggerated and ‘glorified’ urban life in the Black community.”
Speaking on his decision to take the Alford plea, Gunna said that he ‘loves and cherishes’ his “association with YSL music, and always will”.
“I look at this as an opportunity to give back to my community and educate young men and women that ‘gangs’ and violence only lead to destruction,” Gunna said.
Young Thug and the remaining artists associated with YSL are yet to be freed from prison.