Brooklyn rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine is cooperating with federal prosecutors after pleading guilty to nine crimes and saying he joined a violent New York City gang and helped others try to kill a rival gang member.
The plea was entered last week by the 22-year-old rapper, whose legal name is Daniel Hernandez. Information about it was unsealed Friday in Manhattan federal court.
6ix9ine publicly identified himself as a member of a street gang in his music but he’s now admitted it in a courtroom.
During the plea, 6ix9ine said he joined the Nine Trey Blood Gang in the fall of 2017 and helped gang members try to kill a rival last March.
“I did this to maintain or increase my own standing in Nine Trey,” he told Judge Paul A. Engelmayer. He said he also “knew that another member of Nine Trey had a gun and discharged that gun.”
The Stoopid rapper said he also helped other gang members rob people at gunpoint as part of a pledge by new gang members to commit at least two crimes.
Last June 2, he said, he “paid a person to shoot at a rival member of Nine Trey to scare him.” That shooting, he added, occurred in Manhattan. 6ix9ine said he also was paid for participating in the sale of a kilogram of cocaine in 2017.
“I apologize to the court, to anyone who was hurt, to my family, friends and fans for what I have done and who I have let down,” 6ix9ine said.
With his deal with prosecutors, 6ix9ine can gain leniency at sentencing from an otherwise mandatory minimum 47 years in prison if he admits to all crimes and testifies truthfully. Sentencing was set for Jan. 23, 2020.
Lawyer Dawn Florio said 6ix9ine’s safety was a chief concern.
“In the very beginning of the case when we found out that my client’s security was at risk because of threats by his co-defendants, we have done everything to protect himself and his family,” she said, adding that those efforts continue.
6ix9ine is being housed in federal prison, though the location of the institution is undisclosed.
“He has to be separated from the people who threatened him,” Florio said.
Last November, 6ix9ine appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to racketeering and firearms charges.
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6ix9ine is among five people indicted on charges that he directed or participated in violent acts as part of a deadly gang known as the 9 Trey Bloods.
The indictment alleges that the violent episodes involving 6ix9ine included the July shooting of a bystander in Brooklyn and the gunpoint robbery of one of the gang’s rivals last spring.
6ix9ine was transferred from a federal jail in Brooklyn to a new facility for “security reasons.”
He was removed from the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park where he was being housed in general population following his arrest on racketeering and firearms charges.
6ix9ine’s lawyer Lance Lazzaro said that the 22-year-old rapper had been “receiving threats from other inmates.”
Lazzaro said in a statement that his client was “completely innocent of all charges.”
“An entertainer who portrays a ‘gangster image’ to promote his music does not make him a member of an enterprise,” Lazzaro said.
“Mr. Hernandez became a victim of this enterprise and later took steps by firing employees and publicly denounced this enterprise through a morning show. Threats were then made against his life which resulted in this case being brought immediately,” he added.
The Gummo rapper recently pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in Brooklyn Criminal Court in connection with a May traffic stop.
In a 2015 case in New York, 6ix9ine was sentenced to probation for his involvement in a sexually explicit video of a 13-year-old girl. At the time of the incident, 6ix9ine was 18.
The video, posted on social media, showed the girl performing a sex act on another man while 6ix9ine “stands behind the child making a thrusting motion with his pelvis and smacking her on her buttocks,” according to court documents.
He is not registered as a sex offender, but he was told that he must refrain from gang affiliation and the posting and reporting of online sexually explicit or violent images of women or children.
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Known almost as much for his tattooed, rainbow-haired look as for his music, 6ix9ine was a social media phenomenon before becoming an ascendant name in hip-hop.
The Bebe rapper has 15.5 million followers on Instagram. His album Day69: Graduation Day was among the top-sellers on iTunes following its February release.
6ix9ine had a multiplatinum hit song, Fefe, with Nicki Minaj, which peaked at No. 3 on the pop charts, and Stoopid, featuring the incarcerated rapper Bobby Shmurda.
— With files from the Associated Press