YFN Lucci Pleads Guilty to Gang Charge Ahead of Trial



    Rayshawn Bennett, a rapper known as YFN Lucci, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one gang-related charge in Atlanta, his lawyers said, as part of a deal with prosecutors in a case interconnected with the racketeering charges against the Atlanta rap crew YSL.

    Mr. Bennett was part of a wide-ranging 2021 indictment, brought by District Attorney Fani T. Willis of Fulton County, that accused him of murder, aggravated assault and violating the state’s criminal racketeering law. In 2022, Ms. Willis used the same racketeering law to charge Young Thug, the popular rapper, YSL leader and rival to Mr. Bennett.

    The trial against Young Thug and five of his associates is proceeding in the same courthouse as the trial against Mr. Bennett, who reached the plea deal during jury selection.

    Like in the YSL prosecution, the indictment against those accused of being part of YFN put forward social media posts and song lyrics as evidence of criminal activity.

    As part of the plea deal with Mr. Bennett, prosecutors dismissed 12 out of the 13 charges against him, including the racketeering charge. He pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, said one of his lawyers, Drew Findling.

    Mr. Bennett agreed to a 20-year sentence, including 10 years in custody and the rest on probation. But he could be considered for release in less than four months, Mr. Findling said, when factoring in parole eligibility rules and the time he has served in jail since his arrest in 2021. (If he had been convicted on the murder charge, which involved what prosecutors described as a gang-related shootout in 2020, Mr. Bennett could have faced life in prison.)

    “He’s ready to put this behind him and get back to his four children, to his family and to his career,” Mr. Findling said.

    The two other defendants who were scheduled to stand trial alongside Mr. Bennett also took plea deals, the lawyer said.

    A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the plea deal.

    Mr. Bennett is from Atlanta and gained prominence with his 2016 song “Key to the Streets,” which featured Quavo and Takeoff from the chart-topping rap group Migos. He has been a side character in the sprawling Young Thug prosecution, which claims that other YSL members attempted to kill Mr. Bennett by stabbing him at the Fulton County Jail.

    Speaking to reporters outside the Atlanta courthouse on Tuesday, Mr. Findling denied that his client had any plans to cooperate with the YSL prosecution, saying, “He wants nothing to do with that case.”

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