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A Travis County jury found rap musician Yung Gleesh guilty of attempted sexual assault on Friday after a woman accused him of attacking with her while she was sleeping three years ago.
Gleesh, whose real name is Asa Asuncion, was sentenced to five years in prison for the third-degree felony, but the jury recommended that he be able to serve the sentence on probation. State District Judge David Wahlberg will announce the conditions of the probation at a later date.
Asuncion, 28, was accused of assaulting the woman after a night of celebrating in downtown Austin in 2015, when he visited to perform at the South by Southwest music festival. The two were staying at the same mutual friend’s home in Central Austin and had not previously met, the woman testified.
The woman, 25, told the jury that she woke up on a futon in the living room to find Asuncion having sex with her. Her friend, who was sleeping next to the woman, gave a similar account, testifying that she woke up and saw the man’s exposed genitals. She added that Asuncion had admitted that he had performed oral sex on the woman.
But Asuncion’s lawyers argued he never assaulted the woman and noted that the only DNA evidence linking him to her was taken from a hickey he left on her neck. The jury acquitted Asuncion of sexual assault, the higher of the two charges he faced.
The woman testified in the trial’s sentencing phase on Friday that the experience brought her feelings of guilt and wrecked the relationship she had with her boyfriend. She said she now has nightmares and struggles to sleep when she’s not in her own room.
Asuncion’s girlfriend, singer Kali Uchis, told the jury her boyfriend has matured in the years since the incident and would be suitable for probation. Uchis, whose real name is Karly-Marina Loaiza, said the charges have ruined her boyfriend’s rap career and limited his ability to provide for his two children.
“People don’t come to his shows. People don’t book his shows. People don’t want anything to do with him,” she said.
Yung Gleesh would like to clear his name regarding sexual assault charges he received in May. An affidavit said that he forcibly had sex with a woman who was intoxicated and had passed out. Her friend reportedly walked onto the scene and forced the rapper off of the victim.
“On the affidavit, they say that I had sexually assaulted an unconscious girl and there was a girl and her friend and them walked in,” he says to VladTV. “The unconscious girl was her friend. The girl who let me have sex with was wide awoke, man. Everything was crazy. The girl who was right there on the bed was asleep, the unconscious girl. I wasn’t even, had nothing to do with that. She woke up to her friend asleep.”
The Gucci Mane and Chief Keef collaborator reasserts that he would not harm a woman like the charges suggest. He says that the circumstances surrounding the events helped create a worse picture than what really happened.
“In the most racist state in America, Texas, Mississippi, not even supposed to look at White girls and shit down there,” he says. “That shit woulda been on my record before if I had a history of that shit. Nigga don’t even live like that.”
The independent rapper says that these allegations have tremendously hurt his career. He says that the reports came at the top of his journey, when he had multiple shows at SXSW.
“It fucked me over,” Yung Gleesh says. “That shit took a big blow to a nigga, man. Where I come from, I’m independent. I had to work. I do my own independent tour, three four of my independent tour. It was my own shit, no label, no White man, no putting money up. I booked my own shows. I had to build myself up to that point. It’s fucked up that two White people say one thing about a Black man and then this whole shit. They gone on with they life and I gotta deal with this shit for the rest of my life, my kids, my family. That shit’s bigger than me.”
He says that the legal process is ongoing. Yung Gleesh expresses disappointment in the media coverage of his case and says it will make his defense much harder.
“We gotta deal with the U.S. system and the government, the court system,” he says. “That shit goes as far as how the media perceives me to be, how the media perceives me to look. If I look like a monster, then I might have a bad time with this.”