A blogger focused on the lurid underbelly of Chicago’s drill rap culture has been paid nearly $25,000 to cooperate with federal authorities investigating the killing of rapper FBG Duck, an FBI agent told jurors Monday.
Martell Wiley, whose Trenches News YouTube channel has 114,000 subscribers, is expected to testify this week at the trial of six men charged in the brazen attack in the Gold Coast on Aug. 4, 2020.
There has been widespread speculation in the rap blogosphere that Wiley had violated the no-snitch street code and was identified in court records as “Cooperator 1,” who prosecutors say provided information about the O Block faction of the Black Disciples that’s at the center of the murder and racketeering case.
During an interview days before the trial began last month, Wiley dispelled what he described as rumors while sidestepping a question about whether he had been paid to cooperate with law enforcement.
Within days, he changed his tune in a bizarre video posted to his own YouTube channel. Wearing his signature face mask in an empty courtroom that he said was inside the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, Wiley admitted he was testifying in what he described as “the trial of the century.”
They subpoenaed me to court. I’ve gotta come here, man, and tell them, man. It ain’t no more discrepancies. I’m here. Long live Carlton,” he said in the video, referring to Duck, whose real name was Carlton Weekly.
FBI Special Agent Kevin Doyle testified Monday that Wiley called the Chicago Police Department a day after the shooting and offered to help with the investigation. Doyle said Wiley was paid $24,963 over roughly 15 installments for his FBI cooperation, which began in April 2021
“He would provide background information. He reviewed surveillance footage [and] reviewed social media postings,” Doyle said, noting that Wiley was dropped as an informant for a time when he grew unresponsive.
Prior to Doyle’s testimony, one of the roughly dozen defense attorneys in the case noted that Wiley had been used twice as an informant more than a decade ago, calling for more information and details about payments.
During that time, prosecutors say he lived at Parkway Gardens, a sprawling South Side apartment complex that’s also known as O Block and allegedly serves as the gang faction’s power base. Rap lyrics stoked O Block’s yearslong war with the Tookaville faction of the Gangster Disciples that Duck claimed affiliation with, according to prosecutors.
LaSheena Weekly, mother of Carlton Weekly, who performed as FBG Duck, speaks about the death of her son at a news conference in August 2020.Ashlee Rezin /Sun-Times (file)
They have described Wiley as a member of the Black Disciples’ Newtown faction, though Doyle acknowledged he later ran with Duck’s crew and the Gangster Disciples. Asked whether he was concerned that Wiley may be “a little biased” based on his connection to Duck, Doyle simply said, “Yes.”
As the trial has played out, Wiley has posted multiple updates about the case and some of the people involved. Meanwhile, his testimony has remained a hot-button issue.
On Oct. 10, the first day of jury selection, defense attorneys moved to block Wiley from testifying after he made a YouTube video that contradicted his grand jury testimony, according to the Chicago Tribune. Wiley testified that he recognized most of the defendants from surveillance footage but then claimed publicly that he couldn’t identify the gunmen.
Wiley couldn’t be reached for comment.