Tekashi 6ix9ine will likely be released from prison four months ahead of schedule due to the spread of coronavirus. 😳
News first started bubbling online about Tekashi's early release Wednesday morning alongside the disclaimer that the headline wasn't an April Fools' joke. Many probably had to do a double take.
On the contrary, the decision at hand is pretty serious.
With the coronavirus wreaking havoc on the prison system, some of those at high risk of serious illness are eligible for early release. 6ix9ine's attorney Lance Lazarro believes his client falls under this category due to his asthma.
After considering an appeal from Lazarro related to the Bureau of Prison's recent denial of his compassionate release request, Judge Paul Engelmayer of the Southern District of New York wrote a letter to the federal government stating his intentions to let Tekashi serve the rest of his sentence under home arrest.
He gave the government a deadline of 5 p.m. ET to provide a convincing argument for why it'd be better if Tekashi remained behind bars.
Per XXL, the government responded by saying they would approve his decision if "the Court finds 'extraordinary and compelling reasons' presented by the defendant’s medical condition, placing him at high risk during the COVID-19 outbreak.'"
As a result, it's expected that Tekashi will be released from prison, but no further details are available right now.
Talk around Tekashi's potential early departure was accelerated this week when Kintea “Kooda B” McKenzie, his associate and co-defendant, was granted early release on bond until his sentencing in June. Like Tekashi, he was at “high risk” of contracting COVID-19 due to his asthma.
6ix9ine has suffered from asthma for a long time. In 2018, he even did a skit with 50 Cent where he talked about his condition, prompting 50 to gift him with a diamond-encrusted inhaler dangling from a chain.
According to Complex and Lazarro, Tekashi's “projected” final release date is Friday, July 31.
Stay tuned for the all latest developments on Tekashi's status. 👀
For Extra Background...
Lazzaro officially started moving on a coronavirus-related early release on March 22, asking Judge Engelmayer to allow 6ix9ine to serve out the remainder of his sentence under home confinement.
According to Complex, Lazarro wrote in a letter to the court that “Mr. Hernandez has been complaining to prison officials this week of shortness of breath." The medical director of the facility where Tekashi is being held also recommended he be treated by a doctor at a hospital, yet the warden wouldn't allow that to happen.
The federal government interjected on Lazarro's request on the basis that the decision should be made by the Bureau of Prisons, rather than the judge, because 6ix9ine is in a federal prison.
However, 6ix9ine is in a special situation due to his status as a cooperating witness. For security reasons, he's being held in an institution operated by a private company, not the BOP. Lazzaro used this fact as a way to counter the BOP's objection, suggesting that 6ix9ine wasn't really their prisoner.
Judge Engelmayer ended up agreeing with the government a few days later, though he acknowledged the seriousness of Tekashi's asthma in his response.
“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,” he wrote.
Lazarro then shifted his focus toward the Bureau of Prisons and applied with a similar request for compassionate release. They recently denied the request, but in doing so, the decision became appealable in front of Judge Engelmayer.