Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine released from prison 4 months earlier amid coronavirus problems

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Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine was ordered immediately released from a federal prison in Manhattan four months earlier Thursday by a judge who spoke about his asthma and the greatest danger he would face behind bars during the coronavirus epidemic. US district judge Paul A. Engelmayer made his decision a day after telling lawyers on both sides that he intended to do so.

He cited “a raging and virulent pandemic that has entered federal prisons in New York”. Prosecutors did not object to the action.

“Given the increased medical risk presented to Mr. Hernandez by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are extraordinary and compelling reasons to reduce Mr. Hernandez’s sentence,” he said.

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In a statement to CBS News, lawyer for rapper Lance Lazzaro said his client was “very happy.”

Daniel Hernandez, AKA Tekashi69, Arraignment - Houston, TX
Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, leaves after his indictment for assault at the Harris County Courthouse on August 22, 2018 in Houston, Texas.

Bob Levey / Getty Images

“In today’s difficult circumstances due to the Covid 19 pandemic, detainees are particularly vulnerable to contracting the virus,” said Lazzaro. “The Court has shown great compassion today and my client is very grateful to him. “

Last week, the judge said he would have condemned the 23-year-old performer, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, in house arrest rather than prison when he announced the sentence in December if he had known about the coronavirus at the time.

Engelmayer ordered release the same day he asked lawyers to tell him what should be done after a former Tekashi 6ix9ine partner who had been released from prison due to the coronavirus threat put himself in danger outside bars.

The judge said that a video of Kintea McKenzie, who pleaded guilty to the case and awaiting sentencing, “appears to reflect Mr. McKenzie’s party near many others.”

Engelmayer said he was concerned because the activity could reflect a violation of McKenzie’s pre-conviction release conditions and because “the conduct described in the video suggests a total lack of concern by Mr. McKenzie to avoid contagion from himself and others ”.

For Tekashi 6ix9ine, the testimony against members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods gang earned him the leniency of the charges that could have sentenced him to a mandatory minimum sentence of 37 years in prison for crimes including the organization of a shot in which an innocent bystander was injured.

The rapper is serving his sentence in a private prison because he has cooperated with prosecutors and because the government controls him as a cooperator.

He was due to be released on July 31. He will be subject to electronic surveillance until he is released from his home. Until then, he can only visit his lawyer or a doctor. His lawyer said he was diagnosed with bronchitis and sinusitis in October.

In 2018, Tekashi 6ix9ine had a hit multiplatinum song, “Fefe”, with Nicki Minaj, which peaked at No. 3 on the pop charts, and “Stoopid,” with imprisoned rapper Bobby Shmurda.

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