Tekashi 6ix9ine was sentenced on December 18 to 24 months in prison with five years of supervised release and 300 hours of community service, according to the Associated Press. The 13 months he’s already spent in federal jail will count toward his sentence.
Earlier this year, the 23-year-old rapper, born Daniel Hernandez, pleaded guilty to charges including narcotics trafficking, racketeering conspiracy, and violent crime in aid of racketeering. In exchange for relatively lenient prosecutorial treatment (the mandatory minimum sentence was 47 years), he testified against many of his former associates in the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, which helped convicted two of the members. In September, he claimed that rappers Cardi B and Jim Jones were both gang members.
Per The New York Times, prosecutors characterized his testimony as “extraordinary” and “extremely useful.” “The weight of the evidence, coupled with the knowledge that Hernandez was ready, willing, and able to testify to describe the acts of violence and how they were related to Nine Trey were significant factors in the co-defendants’ decisions to plead guilty,” they wrote.
Though lawyers have expressed concern for the rapper’s safety in the wake of his cooperation, 6ix9ine has said that he plans to pick up where he left off following his release, opting not to enter the federal witness protection program.
In today’s proceedings, Judge Paul A. Engelmayer chastised the rapper: “Your choice to join Nine Trey was unnecessary. I see a lot of gangs members … 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 you 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.”
Ahead of receiving his sentence, the musician apologized to victims as well as his family, according to the AP. “I put myself in this position from Day One,” said Hernandez.
He also read from the pre-sentencing letter he wrote to Engelmayer: “I still consider myself a role model to millions of people as an artist, a celebrity and as a human being. I’m happy that the public was able to witness me dealing with the consequences of my actions because I feel like it sheds a light on what can come from gang affiliation”