Tekashi 6ix9ine will walk out of a federal prison in about 11 months. The rapper, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, with five years of supervised release, on December 18, 2019. But he has already served 13 months in jail awaiting his sentencing, for which he will receive credit and he will be out of prison in late 2020. He was also ordered to complete 300 hours of community service when he gets out and pay a fine of $35,000. While he did get leniency, the rumors that Tekashi would be going free Wednesday turned out to be false.
The rappers sentencing hearing started at 10 a.m. in the Southern District of New York courthouse in Manhattan. TMZ reported that Tekashi was wearing dark blue scrubs and “stoic” rather than excited. His trademark hair is “almost completely black with just traces of his famous rainbow dye job in his braids.”
A victim that identified herself as “LL” provided surprise emotional testimony at Tekashi’s hearing, arguing that he should remain in prison. “I’m hurt, I’m upset. July 16  I was just an innocent bystander, shot in the foot. The bullet could have hit me in my head. [sobs]” according to reporter Matthew Russell Lee. “At the end of the day, he was the mastermind. I have bruises on me. I have to look at myself. I just want an apology.” She continued, “It took a lot of me to come here. I want to face him. I want him to know, He hurt me. He hurt me!”
Tekashi’s attorney, Lance Lazzaro went next and stated his case before the court. “From the day he appeared before Magistrate Pitman, he cooperated. He took down a major gang. Four other additional defendants were arrested and taken off the street because of Mr. Hernandez. His testimony was believed by the jury.” He also says that his testimony was a “life sentence” because it will “follow him forever” and he will have to have full-time security anywhere he goes.
Lazzaro requested that he be released with time served and three years of supervised release.
According to Inner City Press, Tekashi 6ix9ine went next and made his final plea to Judge Engelmayer. “I am not a victim. I put myself into this position from Day One. I allowed them in. That was my decision. To the lady who came forward, Ms. LL, I don’t know you. I’m sorry for what happened.” He then offers to pay for Ms. LL’s medical bills.
Tekashi then went into two stories of him helping underprivileged kids. A girl named Tati who he bought school clothes for and a terminally ill 5-year-old boy named Franklin who he visited in the hospital. “I failed these people. They believed in Daniel Hernandez. I was too busy making the negative image in my 69 persona. I know God has a bigger plan for me. I want to inspire the youth that it never too late to change.” Tekashi told the court.
Tekashi’s biological father surprised everybody by showing up and trying to address the court after his son. He was denied by Judge Engelmayer who told him it was “too late”. Tekashi appeared shocked at his father’s presence as he noticed him during his statement. He broke down in tears and wondered out loud why he was there.
The court then took a 10-minute recess before the decision was read. “Mr. Hernandez, I’ve given it a lot of close thought, including your cooperation. The following are my thoughts, & this is going to take a little while. You are in custody for 13 months. I agree you deserve a great deal of credit for cooperation.” Judge Engelmayer said.
“However, I cannot agree with your counsel that time served it appropriate. In my judgment, your conduct is too violent and selfish to make 13 months reasonable. You will not be going free today.” He revealed.
“For the better part of a year, you were part of a violent gang. So that there is no misunderstanding, here is a specific account of those act. First came Trippie Redd… You decided to shoot at a member of Trippie Redd’s entourage.” The judge continued, “Jordan fired into the sprinter van, in the Times Square area. It is a matter of sheer luck that an innocent person or people was not wounded or killed.”
Judge Engelmayer continued exhaustively detailing Tekashi’s crimes, “When you pled guilty, you admitted to attempting to commit murder. On April 3, 2018, with a record label in Texas [Rap-a-Lot]. You drove to 40th Street and 8th Avenue. Kifano Jordan robbed the musicians at gunpoint.”
“Then at the Barclays Center. You and Casanova were beefing. Your song “Billy” was a response. [Song was played at trial, half of it.] You inflamed matters by posting a video mocking Casanova.” referring to the 2018 shooting at the Barclays Center. The Judge continued, “Next was Chief Keef, He was in New York, you were in LA. You offered $20,000 to shoot at Chief Keef outside W Hotel. You later gave $10,000. Then you were in LA. A rival was live streaming in Smurf Village. Jordan offered to shoot, you said OK. In that incident in Smurf Village, a woman was shot in the foot – LL who we heard from today.”
Engelmayer says that he rejects the portrait of Tekashi as a “passive participant”, “Apart from the number and vengefulness of these attack, there’s also that they were to benefit you. Before you, the gang didn’t fight with rap entourages. They had no independent interest in going after musicians and their management groups. You used Nine Trey as a potent means of getting even with your rivals. You claim you “foolishly commingled with members of the gang” – but it’s more than that. The attacks would not have happened without you.”
The Judge tells Tekashi that his defense is too similar to the one he used in his previous case. “Your first crime, use of a child in a sexual performance, you said the same thing, that older acquaintances were having sexual intercourse with the underaged girl. That excuse may have worked once, but it doesn’t work twice”
He then says “Bruce Springsteen sang about murder.” Adding. “You essentially joined… Your choice to join Nine Trey was unnecessary. I see a lot of gangs, like a 76 defendant Bronx case. They fell in at a young age.”
“That excuse is not available to you. By the time you began with Nine Trey, you were a nationally famous rapper. You had a prosperous future. Your counsel says he joined to break out of poverty. I am not buying that. You were set. As a result of your musical career, you could have gotten the advise of security people, and presumably lawyers and accountants. I have sentenced 100s of defendants for gang activity. Your daughter had nothing to do with your decision.”
Judge Engelmayer says that 6ix9ine’s testimony was not as valuable as he claims, “Your driver had been cooperating for many months against you… The attack on Frenchy’s van was captured on security video. I therefore conclude that one way or another the full range of your conduct would have come to light.”
Tekashi has said previously that he will forego witness protection so he can return to his music career.
“You testified at the trial this fall, I saw you staining to make sure you were measuring your words right. You testified in harsh glare of nationwide publicity. There were two other cooperators. But you squarely implicated the two defendants.” The judge continued. He then says he “appreciated the memes,” that emerged from Tekashi’s testimony, “I have no doubt that the process of cooperation has for you been cathartic. For all these reasons you deserve a very substantial reduction, & you will receive you. I followed some of the commentary during the trial, I took much of it in good fun.”
“I do not expect you to be tempted to commit violence again. If you do, I am the judge in your case. And your economic self interest. You have struck a lucrative deal. The situation is unusual. You are very fortunate. You will land on your feet.”
“Mr Hernandez, please rise. It is the judgment of the court you are to serve a term of 24 months in prison, with five years of supervised release. I impose 300 hours of community service when you get out, and a fine of $35,000. Mr Hernandez, the worst part is over. There is a great deal to be admired about you. You’ve learned a hard lesson here. I wish you very very well. We are adjourned.” He concluded.
Tekashi was Facing a Minimum of 47 Years
Tekashi plead guilty to racketeering and firearms charges and was facing a minimum of 47 years in prison as he walked into his sentencing hearing on Wednesday morning. He was able to get it down to 2 years by cooperating with the FBI and local authorities to help bring down 11 members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods street gang.
The US Attorneys Office called Tekashi’s cooperation and public testimony “extraordinary” and said he was instrumental in bringing down the leaders of the Nine Trey Bloods including Anthony “Harv” Ellison, Jamel “Mel Murda” Jones, Kifano “Shotti” Jordan, and Alijermiah “Nuke” Mack.
“The defendant’s cooperation could not have been timelier.” the court documents read, “During proffers with the Government, the defendant provided information in a timely fashion, allowing the Government to investigate and charge additional crimes and defendants…the defendant’s timely assistance allowed the Government to prepare for trial and pursue dispositions, ultimately resulting in convictions for all defendants.”
Tekashi’s legal team at the Lazzaro Law Firm sent a series of documents to Judge Engelmayer with a letter that requests he be released under time-served. Tekashi would only have to serve the previous year in prison and not be given any additional jail time. His lawyers cite his unprecedented level of public cooperation, his charity work, and his reputation among his family members as justification. His legal team also included letters from his girlfriend, his brother, his mother, and Tekashi himself pleading for leniency.
“Considering the issues discussed above, I respectfully request that your Honor sentence Mr. Hernandez to the jail time that he has already served during the duration of his case in light of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(e). Thank you for your attention herein. Please contact me if you have any questions or need any additional information.” The letter reads.
Tekashi’s Probation Officer in the case, Christopher F. Paragano, agreed with his lawyers’ assessment as did the US Attorneys Office. Typically, when the probation office and the federal government both agree with the sentencing recommendation the Judge in the case follows them. Only in very rare circumstances will the judge sentence somebody to more or less time than recommended.
Despite not being freed today, reducing his sentence from 47 years to 2 years is a big victory for Tekashi.
Tekashi Got Involved with the Nine Trey Bloods to Promote His Music
Tekashi’s involvement with the Nine Trey Bloods started with a seemingly harmless request. The Brooklyn rapper was filming a music video in 2017 for his breakout hit “Gummo” and needed extras.
According to court documents, he had a relationship with Nine Trey member Seqo Billy. Tekashi asked Billy for help in getting extras who then introduced him to Kifano “Shotti” Jordan who Billy called the “big homie”. Shotti told Tekashi to buy Hennessy and pizza and he would get people to the video shoot. Hundreds of people showed up and the resulting music video was responsible for launching Tekashi’s career.
During his sentencing hearing, Tekashi’s lawyer Lance Lazzaro says that the rapper tried touring Eastern Europe but didn’t make much money. He decided to write the song GUMMO in order to “change his image”.
Once “GUMMO” became a massive hit, Tekashi officially joined the gang. “Hernandez did not have to undergo any type of initiation – i.e., to “shoot 31” (getting assaulted by other Nine Trey members for 31 seconds), or to “put in work” (meaning to deal drugs or assault someone else) – and instead was directed to continue to perform in order to make money for the gang. Soon after Hernandez became a member of Nine Trey, he personally participated in a number of violent acts with other Nine Trey members.” According to court documents.
Tekashi started getting deeper and deeper into gang activities and started committing crimes with its members in addition to funding their illegal enterprise. His crimes include having his gang beat up rival rapper Trippie Redd, performing a drive-by shooting that targeted another rival known as Frenchie BSM, and his gang firing a gun inside the Barclays Center during an argument with New York rapper Casanova.
The gang eventually turned on him when he was robbed by Anthony “Harv” Ellison in July 2018. Tekashi posted cryptic photos to his Instagram showing his swollen face and admitting that he’s been robbed but refused to say by who. He also refused to cooperate with police in the investigation. He later offered $50,000 for the murder of Ellison.
Tekashi denounced the group following the incident and was arrested shortly afterward.
He Already Has a Record Contract in Place Worth $10 Million
After publicly testifying against his gang, Tekashi became a pariah in the hip-hop community. Famous rappers including The Game, YG, and Tory Lanez, and Snoop Dogg disparaged Tekashi on social media following his snitching. “As we watch Tekashi 69 (or whatever his name is) snitch on EVERYBODY,” Snoop Dogg wrote in a post on Instagram, “I invite you all to remember Martha Stewart snitched on NOT ONE soul during her trial.”
His former label 10K Projects made a huge bet that Tekashi would be released and that people would still want to hear his music and signed the rapper to a $10 million record contract while his trial was still in progress. The record contract is for two albums, one in English and one in Spanish.
10K Projects label head Elliot Grange, the son of Universal Music Group chairman-CEO Lucian Grainge, spoke to Variety about his decision on signing the troubled rapper.
“Tekashi knows how to get under people’s skin,” says Grainge. “He is an addictive, charismatic human being — and very intelligent, but he made some unfortunate choices in regard to the people he surrounded himself with. Knowing him like I do, since he was [called] Daniel Hernandez, I wouldn’t be doing a good job as a human, let alone a label head, if I didn’t try to help him. I’m not giving 6ix9ine a second chance, just an opportunity. The rest is up to him. The artist himself has to make those choices.”
At least one person agrees with him. Famous producer DJ Carnage posted a video on Instagram and said that Tekashi is “about to have the biggest f****** record, he might come out with a #1 record.”
“The numbers are going to be so monumental, it’s going to blow people away.” He predicts. “I’m excited, I’m a student, I’m a fan of the culture. We have to have good guys and we have to have bad guys, I love this.”
The records are going to have to be put on hold for the time being.
Tekashi’s Victims Wrote Letters to the Court Pleading to Keep Him Incarcerated
According to court documents submitted on Tuesday, two of Tekashi’s former victims wrote letters to the court saying that Tekashi should remain behind bars. The two people in question were assaulted and robbed in April 2018 by Nine Trey gang members.
Tekashi 69 testified that the robbery was a revenge hit on Rap-A-Lot Records and label head J. Prince. According to court documents, “Hernandez and others received word that music artists managed by the rival group were recording an interview in a building in Times Square. Hernandez, Jordan, Walter, and Hernandez’s driver, Jorge Rivera, arrived in Times Square from Brooklyn in one vehicle. Roland Martin, a/k/a “Ro Murda,” Jesnel Butler, “a/k/a “Ish,” Denard Butler, and another individual arrived in another car.”
The gang then robbed who they thought were the music artists after entering the lobby. Unfortunately, the two people they robbed were publicists unrelated to Rap-A-Lot Records. Both victims say their lives are irreparably damaged from the incident.
The 33-year-old male victim is a military veteran and says he is “still discovering all the ways that I am suffering and continue to suffers from the attack that I survived orchestrated by Tekashi 69.” He goes on to say that it “set his life on the wrong course and destroyed the normal adulthood that I was striving for.”
He adds that he’s seen his share of violence but has “never been so scared as the cold, hard metallic gun was pressed against my abdomen.”
The female victim is a New York resident and says she refused to sleep alone following the incident. She says she was too scared to go back to her career in public relations or return to her apartment, which was right up the street from Tekashi’s home.
“I live in constant fear that someone (his goons/supporters/constituents) will be sent to finish the job.” She wrote, “I still feel powerless and am trying to pick up the pieces.”
She wants the judge to hold Tekashi responsible for ruining her life and concludes by asking the judge: “Why should this person, who nearly ended my life, be free when I am not free?”
Judge Engelmayer sided with the victims and ruled against letting Tekashi out with time served.