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Gunna was released after he made an Alford plea (Image via Stephane Cardinale/Getty Images)

What is an Alford plea? Meaning explained amid Gunna’s release in YSL RICO case

Rapper Gunna made headlines when he was arrested for RICO earlier this year. However, he was recently seen again online following his release from prison.

He was released after pleading guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges and entering into a plea deal called the Alford Plea, thereby reducing his sentence.

Alford’s plea refers to a plea agreement in which a defendant accepts responsibility for an offense, but claims he is innocent. The defendant also claims that there is evidence of conviction. Advocacy can reduce criminal penalties.

However, Gunna’s plea deal comes with some strings attached – the entertainer has been placed on probation and will be required to complete 500 hours of community service.

In a statement, Gunna said the plea should not be viewed as a way out for him in which he would name the defendant in exchange for his freedom. He explained that the plea would only mean the end of his RICO case.

However, the other defendants under RICO are expected to go to trial soon.


The benefits of an Alford plea at trial

The Alford plea is useful when there is enough evidence to sway the judge on the prosecution’s argument, leading to a conviction even if the defendant is innocent. It is used by defendants to plead a lesser charge if they are at risk of being indicted for more serious crimes, which carry a longer sentence.

The plea can be used by anyone who does not have any evidence to support their defense. However, it must be used according to certain rules inside the court. To exercise this option, the defendant must agree that the evidence presented in court by a lawyer would likely prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The plea cannot be used in Indiana, Michigan, and New Jersey. The judge also has the power to declare the plea unintelligent, unintentional or accurate depending on the state of the case. The penalty may increase in such cases.


Gunna was arrested with Young Thug

Gunna was arrested in May 2022 for RICO (Image via Johnny Nunez/Getty Images)
Gunna was arrested in May 2022 for RICO (Image via Johnny Nunez/Getty Images)

Gunna and Young Thug were arrested earlier this year. While the latter was transported to Fulton County, charges for the former were not disclosed.

However, the charges against the duo included RICO violations and involvement in criminal street gang activity. Gunna’s lawyers also tried to get him released on bail, but the requests were repeatedly denied.

The two were charged along with 26 other people from YSL, who were named in the RICO indictment at a press conference. The charges stemmed from incidents that occurred between January 24, 2013 and May 8, 2022.

After Gunna’s release on December 14, 2022, he released a statement in which he stated that he only saw YSL as a group interested in music when he initially joined. He continued:

“My focus at YSL was entertainment – rap artists who wrote and performed music that exaggerated and ‘glorified’ urban life in the black community.”

In the statement, the rapper added that he would use his experience to bring something good to his community and raise awareness of the negative impact gangs and violence have on future generations.


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