Judge denies Tekashi 6ix9ine's request to serve prison sentence at home due to asthma amid coronavirus scare
The 23-year-old rapper had recently been complaining about shortness of breath to the prison authorities and was diagnosed with bronchitis and sinusitis in October
A federal judge has denied Tekashi 6ix9ine's request to serve his prison sentence at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Tekashi, an asthma patient, had requested for home confinement for the remaining four months of his two-year prison term.
Tekashi was sentenced to two years in prison in December 2019 for his involvement with a gang known as Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods and for orchestrating a shooting in which an innocent bystander was wounded.
US District Judge Paul A Engelmayer, who sentenced Daniel Hernandez aka Tekashi 6ix9ine to prison, said that if he had known about the coronavirus, he would have ordered the Brooklyn rapper to be confined to his home instead of federal prison. The judge added that he didn't have the legal authority to change the sentence, which prosecutors pointed out when they opposed Tekashi's request, according to reports.
Citing Tekashi's heightened vulnerability to the coronavirus because of his asthma, Engelmayer said he "could not have known that the final four months of Mr Hernandez's sentence would be served at a time of a worldwide pandemic to which persons with asthma, like Mr Hernandez, have heightened vulnerability". He, however, added that he was issuing "instructive guidance" that the Bureau of Prisons can use if it considers an application by Hernandez for early release to home confinement.
Engelmayer added, "Had the court known that sentencing Mr Hernandez to serve the final four months of his term in a federal prison would have exposed him to a heightened health risk, the court would have directed that these four months be served instead in home confinement."
Defense attorney Lance Lazarro wrote a letter to the judge on March 22 stating that his client had been diagnosed with bronchitis and sinusitis in October, according to Billboard. The lawyer said that the 23-year-old rapper had recently been complaining about shortness of breath to the prison authorities. However, he was not taken to a hospital even though his facility's medical director had recommended it.
Lazarro also said that Tekashi is currently serving his sentence in a private jail as he had cooperated with prosecutors and added that the government has control of him as a cooperator.
After Engelmayer issued his order on March 25, Lazarro said that it was "a strong recommendation to the BOP to release him immediately". According to reports, Tekashi's testimony against Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods gang members earned him leniency from charges that could have otherwise sent him behind bars for at least 37 years.
The judge had lauded the rapper's cooperation as "game-changing" while Tekashi had expressed remorse. Tekashi 6ix9ine is expected to be released on July 31.