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Tekashi 6ix9ine secures early prison release due to COVID-19 fears

By | Published on Friday 3 April 2020

Tekashi 6ix9ine

Tekashi 6ix9ine has been released early from prison over fears for his health during the COVID-19 pandemic due to his severe asthma.

The rapper – real name Daniel Hernandez – was sentenced to two years in prison in December after pleading guilty to various criminal charges relating to his past involvement with the Nine Trey Bloods street gang in New York.

A more lenient sentence than originally expected was ordered by the judge after Hernandez testified against other members of the gang. The thirteen months he had already spent in custody were also taken into account. He was already expected to be granted an early release in August after being described as a “model prisoner” by the judge overseeing his case.

Although out of prison, he will still have to serve the remaining four months of his sentence confined to his home.

Two weeks ago, Hernandez’s attorney Lance Lazzaro requested that the rapper be released from prison early due to fears about the spread of COVID-19 within the prison system – noting that he “has regularly been hospitalised due to serious asthma attacks”.

Initially the request was denied, but as the disease begins to spread more widely in New York’s prisons he was granted permission to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest yesterday. He is one of at least 900 prisoners so far granted early release in New York due to the public health crisis.

When he was sentenced, it was expected that he would be offered the opportunity to enter the witness protection programme upon release, because there are fears of retaliation due to him testifying against gang members. However, he said at the time that he planned to return to his music career, hoping to “inspire the youth that it’s never too late to change”.

Those plans have seemingly not changed – not least because he still has a multi-million dollar record contract with the 10K Projects record label.

Speaking to Complex, another of his attorneys, Dawn Florio, said yesterday: “He already has that advance for 10K Projects. So he has to put out a Spanish album and an English album. So that’s what he’s going to be working on. We were actually trying to figure out the logistics of how that’s going to work. It’s more difficult because of the coronavirus, because you don’t want strange people coming in to set up a studio where he’s going to be”.

She added that the rapper’s legal team also believe that his release means he is allowed to return to social media, but said: “Obviously, it has to be in good taste. No more trolling”.

R Kelly is also trying to secure his release from jail on coronavirus grounds as he awaits trials in New York and Chicago. Prosecutors this week argued against this, saying that – unlike Tekashi 6ix9ine – Kelly is not in a high risk group, and that there has not been a severe outbreak of COVID-19 in the Illinois prison system, where he is currently being held.