Rapper Daniel “Tekashi 6ix9ine” Hernandez could be released from prison as early as this week, according to reports in XXL and Rolling Stone. Like several other celebrities, his attorney, Lance Lazzaro, has filed a motion to have him released early due to the spread of coronavirus through the prison system. However, unlike Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, his appears on the verge of being successful: Lazzaro confirmed to Rolling Stone that he could be released this afternoon; he did not immediately respond to Variety‘s requests for comment.
The rapper has been in in federal custody for 17 months. The rapper was arrested in Nov. 2018 for his involvement with the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods. In total, Hernandez pleaded guilty to nine federal felonies including racketeering conspiracy, firearms charges, narcotics trafficking, and violent crimes in aid of racketeering.
According to the report, Lazzaro first submitted a motion last week, noting that Hernandez’s asthma put him at significant risk from the virus. Judge Paul Engelmayer, who presided over Hernandez’s case, said he did not have jurisdiction over the matter but supported Lazzaro’s subsequent motion to the Bureau of Prisons.
However, that request was initially denied because Hernandez, 23, apparently is not in a Bureau of Prisons facility. Lazzaro then appealed the decision to Engelmayer; the attorney told Rolling Stone the decision will be made Wednesday or Thursday, and if granted, he is likely to be released immediately.
“Based on what [Engelmayer] wrote this morning, it seems likely he’s going to grant it,” Lazzaro told Rolling Stone. Engelmayer gave the prosecutors until 5pm ET on Wednesday to make the case for Hernandez to stay in custody.
In a letter to Judge Engelmayer obtained by Rolling Stone, United States Attorney Geoffrey Berman wrote that “the Government does not oppose the defendant’s motion for compassionate release,” paving the way for Engelmayer to order Hernandez’s release.
If the rapper is released, he will likely serve out the remaining four months of his sentence in home confinement, although it is unclear where that might be. Before his sentencing, he was apparently robbed and abducted from his Brooklyn home by gang members, although he declined to cooperate with authorities in the matter at the time.
Hernandez has since said that his gang affiliations were fabricated in order to burnish his image as a rapper. In January he made a plea deal — in which he admitted that he’d hired someone to shoot rival rapper Chief Keef, and to selling a kilo of heroin in 2017 — that saw him cooperating with federal law-enforcement officers; the agreement was initially sealed to give prosecutors time to charge and arrest members of the Nine Trey gang.
His controversial cooperation with the authorities led to him offering testimony against the gang, putting several affiliates of the faction in prison. Two defendants in the case, Kintea “Kooda B” McKenzie and Hernandez’s kidnapper Anthony “Harv” Ellison, have yet to be sentenced.
In total, Hernandez pleaded guilty to nine federal felonies including racketeering conspiracy, firearms charges, narcotics trafficking, and violent crimes in aid of racketeering.