The rapper, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, was arrested along with Young Thug in May as part of a 28-person indictment. The case centred around the YSL (Young Slime Life and Young Stoner Life) label founded by the pair in 2016, which authorities claimed was a “criminal street gang”.
However, after being sentenced to five years, Gunna has now been released after negotiating a guilty plea. Specifically, the 29-year-old rapper has taken what’s called an Alford plea, meaning he’s pleaded guilty to one racketeering conspiracy charge, while maintaining his innocence on that same charge as a form of self-preservation.
As a result, the initial five year sentence was commuted to one, with the remaining four now suspended with special conditions attached that includes 500 hours of community service.
In a statement shared via his lawyer Steve Sadow, Gunna has emphasised that the deal he’s negotiated means he hasn’t testified or served as a witness against any of the other 27 YSL associates.
“When I became affiliated with YSL in 2016, I did not consider it a “gang”; more like a group of people from metro Atlanta who had common interests and artistic aspirations,” he’s said. “My focus of YSL was entertainment – rap artists who wrote and performed music that exaggerated and “glorified” urban life in the Black community.
“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.
“I have chosen to end my own RICO case with an Alford plea and end my personal ordeal by publicly acknowledging my association with YSL. An Alford plea in my case is the entry of a guilty plea to the one charge against me, which is in my best interest, while at the same time maintaining my innocence toward the same charge.
“I love and cherish my 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.”
Young Thug remains incarcerated as he awaits trial, however. One report suggests jury selection in the case is scheduled to start on Wednesday, 4 January, 2023.