I ask Hamasaki how much social media played a role in Drakeo’s case. “You’re giving me PTSD,” he sighs. “I think we had 4 terabytes of discovery. DMs, photos, videos. Backing up accounts on Instagram or Twitter. Anything they can confiscate electronically now, they do. The problem is that prosecutors can come in and pick up snippets of here and there to paint a picture. From the defense, you come in and you have to fill in the picture. ” Using these snippets of letters and social media, prosecutors will attempt to build a history of YSL as a hierarchical criminal organization.
Hamasaki adds that the use of social media as evidence does not occur only in high-profile cases. “Social media is a common tool in the law enforcement toolbox,” he says, adding that police departments routinely receive arrest warrants through the use of activity on the networks. social. “They’ll put it in legal language, but they basically say, ‘Here,’ on social media, ‘there’s evidence of crime X.’ Orders are given several times a day, every day.”
The indictment in the Thug and Gunna case is fraught with seemingly convicting charges against its 26 co-defendants, including the attempted murder of young rapper YFN Lucci and the aggravated assault on a senior statesman, Lil Wayne. There are also charges for possession of cocaine and oxycodone.
If there is evidence of these charges, presumably Fulton County prosecutors would have a solid case against these co-defendants. But the way these alleged crimes are linked to Gunna, also known as Sergio Kitchens, and Thug, also known as Jeffery Williams, is through content posted online. Time and time again, the prosecution claims some version of the following: “Defendant JEFFERY WILLIAMS, an associate of YSL, appeared in a video posted on social media titled ‘Eww’, where the defendant says:” Red just like Elmo, but never laughing ‘… an open act in favor of conspiracy. “
I ask Hamasaki if he thought the prosecutors in the Drakeo case were making their arguments in good faith. Did they sincerely believe that a letter about killing someone amounts to an admission of guilt? Choosing his words carefully, Hamasaki says, “I struggled to find credible that they weren’t able to separate reality from fiction.”
In cases with what is done against Thug, Gunna and YSL, the definition of artistic expression becomes a controversial issue. After his arrests, Willis noted that the First Amendment is a “precious” American right, but still “does not protect people from prosecutors who use it as evidence, if so.” But, as Gunna’s lawyer said, “It’s very problematic for the state to rely on the lyrics of the songs as part of its allegations. These lyrics are the creative expression of an artist and not a literal account of facts and circumstances “.
Producer JoogSZN was Drakeo’s collaborator and friend. “This is the only art form that is seen as an autobiography rather than as an art form,” he says. A few months before Drakeo was released from prison, Joog and Drakeo came out Thanks for using GTL, a critically acclaimed album recorded over the phone through the Global Tel Link Prison Call Service at an operating price. Joog spoke to Drakeo daily during his incarceration, and says his conversations were full of laughter as they were baptized for the basic disbelief of the prosecution case.