YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s Gun Charge Trial – Reported Jury Details, Defense Argument and New Photos
Sixteen months following his arrest on a gun charge in Los Angeles, YoungBoy Never Broke Again is on trial. The Baton Rouge, La. native is facing a charge of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. Instead of taking a plea deal, YoungBoy has decided to fight the charges in court. His trial started on Tuesday (July 12). Here’s everything we know about NBA YoungBoy’s case and trial so far.
In February of 2021, it was reported that the Feds had an open case against YB in relation to a 2020 arrest in Louisiana. The following month, NBA YoungBoy was arrested on March 22, 2021. On that date, the Los Angeles Police Department and federal agents attempted to pull the Top rapper over in a vehicle order to execute an outstanding federal warrant for his arrest shortly after he left his L.A. home. YoungBoy reportedly led police on a low-speed chase before exiting the vehicle and running from authorities on foot. Police reportedly used K-9 dogs to locate the rapper, which they did and took him into federal custody. Police discovered an FN, model FNX-45, .45 ACP caliber pistol in the vehicle the rapper fled from.
The initial warrant stemmed from a 2020 incident in which YoungBoy Never Broke Again and 15 more people were arrested in September that year at a video shoot in Baton Rouge, La. There were 14 firearms, three grams of marijuana, one dose of Hydrocodone inside a clear bag and digital scales present. YoungBoy was charged with weapons possession. Based on an unsealed indictment, authorities in Louisiana officially charged YB with possession of firearms by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, which triggered the warrant.
On March 23, 2021, the day following YoungBoy's arrest in L.A., a California magistrate granted the rapper a bond, which included $540,000 in cash, collateral in the form of two properties worth $1.5 million, drug testing, an ankle monitor and more. However, the bond had to be signed off by a judge in Louisiana. On March 24, 2021, James Manasseh, YB’s attorney, called the Cali arrest a perversion of justice.
"What happened to him in California was a travesty," Manasseh said. "Every law enforcement agency knows we represent Kentrell [YoungBoy's government name] and no one told us of his warrant. Had they told us he was indicted, we would have voluntarily surrendered him at our office in a safe and non-public manner."
The attorney added, "The surprise tactic of arresting him in California was unnecessary. It was simply a show of force and power upon an individual by the Government."
On March 25, 2021, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana submitted a motion to keep NBA YoungBoy locked up until his trial, labeling him a threat to the community.
The court document read, "The government will present evidence of Gaulden’s prior history of ignoring probation conditions. This evidence coupled with his brazen attempt to evade arrest in this matter supports the concern that Gaulden presents a flight risk. Indeed, before knowing the potential jeopardy in which he finds himself, Gaulden sought to evade capture. Now that he knows the seriousness of these offenses, the temptation to flee is greater. Moreover, Gaulden’s criminal history includes violent offenses."
The filing continued, "He is charged with possessing a gun as a convicted felon, and he possessed another gun as he fled from law enforcement at the time of his arrest. When his gun possession is combined with his violent crime, attempts to flee from law enforcement, which included a high speed chase in and around a neighborhood that included a middle school, and his pervasive marijuana use Gaulden clearly and convincingly presents a danger to the community."
A Louisiana judge signed off on the motion and YoungBoy Never Broke Again's bond was revoked on March 30, 2021. YoungBoy extradited to the St. Martin Parish Correctional Center in St. Martinville, La. on April 13, 2021. In June of that year, it was revealed that the FBI’s codename for the rapper’s investigation was “Operation Never Free Again.” YB was officially indicted for the California gun charge on Aug. 20, 2021.
He sat in jail for six months until he was finally granted a bond on Oct. 22, 2021. However, the following day, a hold was placed on his release by the California U.S. Attorney's Office due to firearms charges he faces in that state. He had to wait three more days until he was released on house arrest on $1.5 million bond. The release stipulations required him to stay in Layton, Utah with former members of the military securing his property. YB was also forced to submit to drug testing, go through inpatient or outpatient abuse therapy, wear a GPS monitor and pre-approve visitors with the court.
While on house arrest, YoungBoy continued to put out music. In September of 2021, he released the album Sincerely, Kentrell, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. This past January, he released the mixtape Colors, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard album's chart. YoungBoy also collaborated on a joint album with DaBaby called Better Than You in March. During this time, he resorted to using YouTube as his way of communicating with fans after shutting down his social media accounts.
Leading up to the trial, one of the points of contention was whether or not song lyrics would be admitted into evidence. Specifically, the prosecution wanted to bring into question the track "Gunsmoke," on which YoungBoy raps about the same firearm that was discovered in his vehicle. In a motion filed on Monday (July 11), the prosecution claimed the lyrics proved "familiarity and knowledge of FN, the high-end manufacturer of the gun found in (his) car that he denies knowingly possessing."
However, on the first day of the trial this week, YoungBoy’s attorneys successfully got the lyrical evidence thrown out by Judge R. Gary Klausen.
"These lyrics are highly prejudicial as they discuss hardcore rap which has been empirically established to be more negatively received than other genres of music. It would be one thing if the music described this arrest," YoungBoy’s legal team responded to the prosecution’s motion on Monday.
"But a song referencing a similar gun well before the gun in the indictment was purchased and another song referencing a jeweler whose relationship with Mr. Gaulden is not in dispute offer very minimal probative value and are substantially outweighed by the prejudice contained within the words of the songs."
The rapper’s legal team added, "Even if Mr. Gaulden [YoungBoy Never Broke Again] is familiar with various models of guns and sings about them, it does not mean that he knew this particular gun was secreted on the passenger floor of the Maybach when police attempted to pull his car over to arrest him."
Pictures have surfaced of NBA YoungBoy outside the courthouse on his first day of trial. In the photos, the rapper is wearing tan slacks and a brown jacket. In one picture, he is holding a puppy.
Regarding the trial, there appears to be one Black person on the jury, according to independent lawyer Moe Gangat, who is not tied to the case. The first day of trial concluded on Tuesday with both sides giving their opening statements and some testimony. Gangat reports that the prosecution must prove YoungBoy possessed the weapon or knowingly had it in his vehicle. The defense reportedly stated that there is no DNA evidence from the rapper on the firearm. However, five other people's fingerprints were pulled from the weapon, which was reportedly found in the car surrounded by items that did not belong to the rapper.
Gangat says multiple federal agents testified. One of the agents spoke on finding the firearm in the floorboard of the rappers Maybach SUV after at least two other agents searched the vehicle prior to him. The defense reportedly argued that that proved the gun was not in plain sight and YoungBoy did not know the gun was in the vehicle.
According to Billboard reporter Kristin Robinson, the defense also claimed the rapper fled police during the arrest because he was afraid after they "took defensive positions" and "drew weapons" during what he thought was a regular traffic stop.
The trial continues today (July 13).
XXL has reached out to YoungBoy Never Broke Again's attorney for comment.