Federal prosecutors are pushing back against NBA YoungBoy‘s request to relax the rules of his Utah house arrest due to his “deteriorating” mental health and declining sales of his music. In a new court filing Monday, prosecutors said the rapper’s motion to make outside studio visits and “certain” life-enrichment activities approvable by his pretrial officer is “hopelessly vague” and should be denied by the judge overseeing his pending Louisiana gun case.
“The United States fails to see how the defendant’s current conditions of pre-trial release prohibit him from seeking and obtaining mental health treatment,” Assistant U.S. Attorney William K. Morris wrote in his opposition paperwork obtained by Rolling Stone. The prosecutor argued NBA YoungBoy, born Kentrell Gaulden, already is allowed to leave his residence for medically “necessary” appointments within the state of Utah. And beyond that, Gaulden could choose from a host of “modern-day, widely available virtual options” for additional therapy, he wrote.
Morris further argued that the court previously considered Gaulden’s ability to continue earning a living when it heard testimony from Atlantic Records Chairman Julie Greenwald during an October 2021 hearing about his pretrial release. Greenwald testified that Atlantic could “include basically bringing his work environment to him” as part of their efforts to ensure the community’s safety during Gaulden’s house arrest. She testified that Atlantic would build a studio in the Utah home.
The judge did not issue an immediate ruling on Gaulden’s motion after receiving the government’s reply Monday. In filings earlier this month, Gaulden’s lawyers argued the popular and prolific Seriously, Kentrell rapper has been under 24-hour detention for nearly two years and is nearing a breaking point.
“Being confined to his home and unable to complete his employment obligations has led to great anxiety, depression, loss of weight and sleep. Mr. Gaulden has been visibly stressed and has expressed concern and loss of hope that he will be able to return to his contracted employment obligation,” a high-powered team of defense lawyers including James P. Manasseh, Drew Findling, and Tanner Woods wrote in a memo to the court submitted Nov. 1. The lawyers argued that “recent analysis” from Gaulden’s label indicated his sales “have suffered due to his limited ability to produce quality recordings.”
“Mr. Gaulden needs to be able to travel to and from recording studios on occasion in order to continue to produce the quality of music that his fans expect,” they wrote. “Music and entertainment (are) Mr. Gaulden’s only way of earning a living and supporting his family. Mr. Gaulden has exhausted all his options for recording in his home with a very limited production crew.”
In an email sent to the lead prosecutor on Oct. 20, one of Gaulden’s lawyers said the proposed changes to Gaulden’s house arrest would leave his “main restrictions” in place, including his curfew, his ankle monitor and the strict limitations on his visitors. “He would not be able to go on tour,” Woods wrote. “Furthermore, all activities would have to be cleared with his pretrial services officer in advance.”
Gaulden, 24, was indicted by a federal grand jury in March 2021 on charges he was a felon in possession of two weapons during an arrest of a group of men outside his grandfather’s house on Sept. 28, 2020. His lawyers argue he was the victim of a “dragnet” linked to a disputed 911 call and a controversial search warrant.
Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick, from the Middle District of Louisiana, initially ruled that a cache of personal videos seized at the time of Gaulden’s arrest would be inadmissible at trial due to an improper search warrant, but that ruling was overturned on appeal. Gaulden is now awaiting a new trial date in the case.
Gaulden was acquitted of a separate gun charge in California in July 2022.
In November, the rapper released Decided 2, and ahead of the record, shared three new singles: “Deep Down,” “My Body,” and “Now Who.”