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Young Thug's lawyer held in contempt, taken into custody

Shaddi Abusaid, Jozsef Papp and Bill Rankin, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

ATLANTA — The judge presiding over Young Thug’s lengthy racketeering trial held the musician’s attorney in contempt on Monday after being confronted about a private conversation reportedly held between the judge, prosecutors and one of the state’s star witnesses.

Brian Steel was escorted out of the courtroom after refusing to tell Judge Ural Glanville how he learned of the meeting, which he said occurred in the judge’s chambers before court began Monday.

“You got some information you shouldn’t have gotten,” Glanville told the rapper’s attorney before directing courtroom deputies to take him into custody.

“You’re not supposed to have communication with a witness who’s been sworn,” Steel told the judge before asking for a mistrial. He was later allowed back into the courtroom.

The witness, Kenneth Copeland, spent the weekend in jail after refusing to testify on Friday despite an immunity deal that is contingent on his testimony. Copeland apparently had a change of heart on Monday and was brought to the witness stand wearing a blue, jail-issued jumpsuit.

Copeland was released from custody on the condition that he return to the witness stand Tuesday morning

 

The reluctant witness dodged most of the prosecution’s questions ahead of the lunch break, during which time Steel said he learned of the morning meeting.

“How about the witness, how about Mr. Copeland, who supposedly announced that he’s not testifying and he’ll sit for two years and, supposedly this honorable court, or let me rephrase that, this court, said I can hold you until the end of this trial,” Steel asked.

He said he heard that prosecutor Simone Hylton also reminded the witness that he could actually be held until all 26 defendants have their cases disposed of, regardless of how long that might take.

“If that’s true what this is is coercion, witness intimidation, ex parte communications that we have a constitutional right to be present for,” an outraged Steel told Glanville.

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©2024 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at ajc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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