The chart-topping 22-year-old rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again, born Kentrell D. Gaulden, was discovered not responsible on Friday of possessing a firearm and ammunition as a felon, concluding one of many two federal gun trials he had been dealing with.
A jury in Los Angeles reached its verdict after about two hours on its second day of deliberations. Mr. Gaulden, who is thought to followers as NBA YoungBoy or YB, confronted as much as 10 years in jail in the case.
The gun possession cost in California stemmed from YoungBoy’s March 2021 arrest in the Los Angeles space on a separate federal gun possession warrant from an earlier incident in the rapper’s house state of Louisiana. In September 2020, YoungBoy was amongst 16 individuals accused of possessing weapons and medicines at a video shoot in Baton Rouge. His attorneys have mentioned not one of the contraband was in his possession.
Prosecutors in the Central District of California mentioned that upon making an attempt to execute the warrant in that case, YoungBoy initially appeared to cooperate, pulling over his Mercedes Maybach earlier than taking off once more and main officers on a “high-speed chase.” After the rapper fled on foot, police discovered an FNX .45 caliber pistol and ammunition behind the entrance passenger’s seat, together with money and jewellery.
Lawyers for YoungBoy argued that the rapper was unaware of his excellent federal warrant on the time and panicked when armed officers approached his car, main him to take off. He didn’t know the weapon was in the automotive, they mentioned, and no usable fingerprints or DNA tied YoungBoy to the gun.
Prosecutors had sought to hyperlink the rapper to the weapon utilizing a photograph and video from social media of YoungBoy dealing with “a gold and tan gun that appeared identical to the firearm recovered from his car,” in response to courtroom data. The photograph was taken on the similar Philadelphia store that had offered YoungBoy the jewellery additionally discovered in the automotive, they argued. Lawyers for the rapper mentioned the gun was an identical to an airsoft reproduction and couldn’t be confirmed to be the identical weapon.
“We believe the evidence presented in this case supported the charges brought by the grand jury,” Ciaran McEvoy, a spokesman for the U.S. lawyer’s workplace in Los Angeles, mentioned in an announcement. “While we are disappointed with the verdict, we respect the jury’s decision.”
As the trial began on Tuesday, the choose in the case, R. Gary Klausner, dominated to exclude lyrics from three YoungBoy songs from getting used in courtroom. Prosecutors had mentioned that the tracks — “Gunsmoke,” “Life Support” and “Lonely Child” — referred “to an individual connected to the purchaser of the gun, the gun model found in his car, and the jewelry maker of the jewelry found next to the gun.”
But attorneys for the rapper efficiently argued that the “hardcore” and “highly inflammatory” rap lyrics could be prejudicial and weren’t immediately related, noting that the track mentioning an FN pistol was launched earlier than the FN gun seized from the Maybach was bought.
“It’s for entertainment,” they wrote in a courtroom submitting. “It is not an admission of other bad acts but it does paint the rappers in a bad light and the jury may infer from the song that Mr. Gaulden is a violent person and take those feelings with them into the deliberation room.”
The rapper’s attorneys added: “The real issues are: 1) whether he knew the gun was inside of the car and 2) whether he intended to possess it. It’s a relatively simple case.”
Known for his uncooked actuality rap, prolific output and obsessive on-line fan base, YoungBoy is among the many most-streamed artists in the United States thus far this 12 months, competing with the likes of Drake and Taylor Swift. Since signing a $2 million take care of Atlantic Records in 2016, he has continuously topped the Billboard album chart — hitting No. 1 with 4 releases in lower than two years — however continues to exist largely exterior the mainstream leisure enterprise, owing in half to his ongoing authorized points.
In 2017, YoungBoy pleaded responsible to aggravated assault with a firearm and obtained a suspended 10-year prison sentence, plus probation, stemming from his function in a nonfatal drive-by taking pictures for which he was initially charged with tried first-degree homicide. In 2019, following subsequent arrests, together with for a home violence incident in which he pleaded responsible to misdemeanor battery, the rapper was sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Since October, when he was granted a $500,000 bond in the federal gun circumstances, YoungBoy has lived below house confinement in Utah, the place he has continued to document and launch music.
YoungBoy’s further federal gun case in Louisiana is ongoing. His attorneys have argued that he was unfairly focused, highlighting regulation enforcement’s identify for one among its operations: Never Free Again, “an obvious take off on Gaulden’s highly successful music and marketing brand.” The rapper’s authorized crew has efficiently suppressed video proof in the case that it mentioned was unconstitutionally obtained.
The rapper’s arrest in Los Angeles final 12 months, his attorneys mentioned, was a “massive and wildly unnecessary militaristic display of force and intimidation.”