Why was Brian Steel arrested? Young Thug’s attorney taken into custody during the YSL RICO trial

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Young Thug's lawyer ordered to serve 20 days in jail for contempt of court (Image via Getty)

On June 10, 2024, Young Thug’s attorney, Brian Steel, was ordered to spend 20 days behind bars by Judge Ural Glanville after being held in contempt of court, as reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This occurred during the rapper’s YSL RICO trial, where he is facing six felony charges.

Brian Steel was taken into custody after the prosecution returned from lunch during the day’s hearing. This happened after Steel informed Judge Glanville that he was aware of the conversation between witness Kenneth "Lil Woody" Copeland, the defense, and the judge, which he was not supposed to know about.

Judge Glanville was furious upon learning that Steel had this knowledge and demanded to know how he learned about it. In response, Steel claimed that the key witness was being coerced and intimidated. When he continued to refuse to reveal how he obtained the information, Glanville said in court, “You and I are going to have some problems.”

Judge Glanville then ordered Brian Steel to spend time in jail, specifying that he would spend the next 10 weekends in the Fulton County Jail in Georgia.

For those uninitiated, Brian Steel has been a defense lawyer since 1991. The Fordham University School of Law graduate has handled multiple cases across the United States, including those in North Carolina, Louisiana, Texas, California, and Alabama, among other states. He also has 300 published works.

Young Thug's attorney moved for mistrial after Brian Steel was placed into custody

Before Steel was removed from the hearing, he said in the courtroom that Young Thug was uncomfortable proceeding with the case without his presence. Steel argued:

"You are removing me against his will, my will. You’ve taken away his right to counsel, and you’re conducting material parts of this trial without me present and I can’t learn about it by watching online. So, for that reason, additionally, I ask for a mistrial."

Despite this, Steel was apprehended. Even though Young Thug’s other attorney, Keith Adams, asked for a mistrial, Judge Glanville announced that he was “not halting nothing.”

Brian Steel’s arrest comes after Kenneth Copeland spent time in prison after he refused to testify. Steel revealed in court that he learned that Prosecutor Simone Hylton told Copeland that he would be held in custody until all the defendants had their charges disposed of.

Judge Glanville was furious with Steel for knowing about the ex parte meeting. For those uninitiated, such meetings take place between one party and a judge without the other party’s knowledge.

When Steel was repeatedly asked how he learned about the ex parte meeting, he refused to respond to the judge despite multiple warnings, leading to his arrest.

Kenneth Copeland played a key role in the RICO trial as he was an alleged YSL affiliate. Prosecutors were hoping Copeland would share information about the crimes Young Thug was charged with. However, Copeland invoked his Fifth Amendment right after self-incrimination after prosecutors began to examine him, leading to his being taken into custody.


Meanwhile, Brian Steel asked Judge Glanville whether he could spend time in the Cobb County Jail, where Young Thug is being held so that they could work on his case. The judge accepted this request.

Young Thug is now fighting racketeering and gang-related charges, among other alleged offenses. He and 27 other YSL members have also been accused of conspiring to violate Georgia’s RICO act.

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