Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine may be released from prison sooner than expected if officials approve his request to serve the rest of his sentence at home due to the spread of the coronavirus and fears that he may contract COVID-19.
Lawyers for 23-year-old Daniel Hernandez previously asked that a judge allow the imprisoned artist to finish out his sentence at home, but despite a judge initially denying that request last week, Hernandez may still end up being released from custody some time this week. His attorney, Lance Lazzaro, told Rolling Stone that a final decision may be made on Thursday, and if their request is granted, Hernandez will likely be allowed to go home immediately.
In Lazarro’s original motion for Hernandez’s release, he pointed out that Hernandez has asthma, which places him at greater risk of developing complications if he contracts COVID-19, the Associated Press previously reported. U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, who’s been presiding over the case, denied the request last Wednesday, but did say that, had he known what was coming, he would have ordered Hernandez to spend the remaining four months of his sentence at home, for his own safety. He went on to say that he did not have the authority to make the decision, but that he would be issuing an “instructive guidance” to the Bureau of Prisons — the agency that can make the call, he said — that can be considered when they make their decision, according to the outlet.
The BOP then denied that request, with a representative stating that their organization “[does] not have any authority or oversight of his case as he is not in a BOP facility,” according to a report from the Inner City Press. Lazarro then appealed that decision, asking the judge to make the call because he has the “statutory authority” to do so. Judge Engelmayer then gave prosecutors until Wednesday evening to make their case as to why Hernandez’s request should be denied, adding that they intend to grant it.
"The parties are advised that, provided that the Court has legal authority to grant the relief requested by defense counsel, the Court intends to do so,” that order reads.
Lazarro said that he believes the decision will be made on Thursday, April 2, at the latest, according to Rolling Stone.
“I believe the judge will, at some point, approve my motion for compassionate release,” he told the outlet. “I don’t want to put words into the judge’s mouth.”
Likewise, Dawn Florio, another attorney for Hernandez, called his early release a “foregone conclusion.”
Kintea “Kooda B” McKenzie’s, who was involved in Hernandez’s case, just had his request for temporary release granted, Complex reports. McKenzie, too, has asthma, and four inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where McKenzie has been in custody, have contracted COVID-19, according to the outlet.
Hernandez famously testified against his former fellow members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods gang, earning him a more lenient sentence in his racketeering case.
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