How 6ix9ine Begged Judge for Lenient Sentencing

6ix9ine
Jefferson Siegel/NY Daily News via Getty Images

6ix9ine appears at his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court on July 11, 2018. 

The rapper pleaded guilty to racketeering, weapons and drug offenses.

6ix9ine is begging for leniency in federal court as he awaits sentencing on a variety of racketeering, weapons and drug offenses.

The Brooklyn-born 6ix9ine, whose legal name is Daniel Hernandez, submitted a letter to Federal Judge Paul Engelmayer saying that while he knows there is “no excuse, no justification and no apology good enough in this world to explain my crimes,” he is “remorseful” over his association with the Nine Trey gang.  He told Engelmayer that by the public bearing witness to the results of his actions, he hopes it will inform others of the consequences of gang affiliation. He also said he was relieved that the police arrested him.

“I had a feeling of relief when I was arrested by the Government because I felt stuck, like the gang had control of my life and that I would never be able to escape their grip,” he said in the letter. “I needed to do something before it was too late.” 

6ix9ine wrote that he had already publicly dissociated himself from Nine Trey prior to his arrest and knew it would “come at a price,” noting that he had already been kidnapped by the gang in retaliation. Later in the letter, he acknowledged that he had squandered his dream by getting involved with the wrong people. 

“I’m sorry to the victims who were affected by my actions, to my fans who look up to me and were misled, to my family who depends on me and this courtroom for this mess that I contributed to,” he wrote. “I’m truly sorry for the harm that I’ve caused. If given a second chance, I will not let this Court down and I will dedicate a portion of my life to helping others not make the same mistakes that I’ve made.” 

Earlier this week, the Department of Justice attorneys asked the same judge to go easy when sentencing 6ix9ine, in light of his cooperation in the criminal investigation and assistance in a trial that ultimately resulted in convictions. DOJ attorneys filed a memo on Thursday (Dec. 5) requesting Engelmayer, who is overseeing 6ix9ine's case, impose a sentence below the statutory minimum.

Last November, 6ix9ine was charged with racketeering and firearm offenses and accused of joining the Nine Trey Gansta Bloods, a violent street gang founded on Rikers Island. Facing life in prison, he pleaded guilty in January to nine counts of federal racketeering, firearms, violent crimes in aid of racketeering and narcotics trafficking offenses. In turn, he agreed to take the stand as a key government witness against two high-ranking members of the gang. The jury returned guilty verdicts in the case against both trial defendants, according to the DOJ. 6ix9ine also provided the government with key evidence that enabled them to bring charges against two other individuals, totaling four in all. 

United States attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman stated earlier that 6ix9ine joined the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods in November 2017 and used his association with them to "enhance his gangster persona" to help promote and sell his music. In addition, they said that 6ix9ine featured Nine Trey members in a music video and helped fund gang leadership and operations, according to the court document.

DOJ attorneys claimed 6ix9ine and Nine Trey gang members "wreaked havoc in New York City, among other things, committing multiple acts of violence in public places throughout the city." The memo describes how law enforcement approached 6ix9ine on a Saturday evening on Nov. 17, 2018 after they heard threats made against him, intercepted during a wiretap of one of the highest ranking members of Nine Trey. Initially, the meeting was just to offer protection, which 6ix9ine declined, though with his attorney he later "provided some information about the organization of Nine Trey,” according to the memo.

6ix9ine was arrested the next day and admitted to the government his involvement in Nine Trey, including participating in an armed robbery in midtown New York. He also told the government about additional crimes that had not been charged, including a shooting in "SmurfVillage" in Brooklyn, a robbery and kidnapping, storing an assault rifle at his house and ordering a shooting at the W Hotel in Times Square.

Based on the information provided by 6ix9ine, the government said they were able to charge four other individuals with crimes ranging from kidnapping and assault with a dangerous weapon to involvement in a RICO federal racketeering conspiracy. DOJ attorneys said 6ix9ine's assistance was "both incredibly significant and extremely useful" and was able to provide them an "insiders view of Nine Trey and a first-hand account of many acts of violence that the government otherwise did not have." The DOJ had asked the judge to consider a U.S. statute that affords the court the ability to impose a sentence below the statutory minimum in light of "substantial assistance in the investigation or prosecution of another person."

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