Rapper Gunna released from prison after pleading guilty to racketeering charges

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    Rapper Gunna attends the 2022 Costume Institute Benefit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in May. (Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

    Gunna, the rapper who was arrested in Atlanta in May as part of a RICO case against the Young Slime Life (YSL) gang, was released from prison on Wednesday after entering a negotiated guilty plea to extortion conspiracy charges.

    The 29-year-old rapper, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, was sentenced to five years in prison with four years suspended, according to WSB-TV Channel 2 in Atlanta. The one-year sentence was then commuted to time served, with special conditions including 500 hours of community service.

    The rapper’s sentence will be completed once he completes community service, attorney Steve Sadow said. 350 hours will be spent talking to young men and women about the “dangers and immorality” of gangs and gang violence. He must stay away from guns and his co-defendants unless communication is through lawyers or his record label.

    Gunna introduced a so-called Alford plea, which allows a person to plead guilty – while still maintaining innocence – if the prosecution’s evidence is believed likely to result in a guilty verdict at trial.

    “While I have agreed to be truthful at all times, 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 testify for or against any party in the case and have absolutely NO intention of being involved in the trial process in any way,” the rapper said in a statement obtained by The Times.

    If Gunna is called as a witness by anyone in the upcoming trial, which begins in January, “he will testify truthfully, but he reserves the right to assert his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination,” Sadow said.

    Gunna said in the statement that he did not consider YSL a “gang” when he joined the group in 2016. He said he thought it was “more like a group of people from metro Atlanta who had common interests and artistic aspirations.” and claimed that his focus in YSL was on “entertainment — rap artists who wrote and performed music that brought urban life into the black community exaggerated and ‘glorified’.”

    “I love and cherish my association with YSL music, and always will,” Gunna said in the statement. “I see this as an opportunity to give back to my community and teach young men and women that ‘gangs’ and violence only lead to destruction.”

    A 56-count grand jury indictment in May identified Gunna, Young Thug (real name Jeffery Lamar Williams) and 26 others as members of YSL, a criminal street gang. Some of the defendants were charged with violent crimes such as murder and attempted armed robbery. Authorities have said Williams and Kitchens are the gang’s leaders, but their lawyers have been battling the charges for months, the AJC reported.

    The indictment also alleged that 31-year-old Young Thug was a founding member of the YSL gang and alleged he was linked to offenses in 2013 and 2018. He remains in prison, awaiting trial, with jury selection scheduled for January 4.

    Last week, a grand jury charged the 31-year-old with four additional counts in connection with a May 2021 incident in which he allegedly drove 120 miles per hour on an Atlanta highway, FOX5 Atlanta reported Tuesday.

    This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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