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“At the time of sentencing … the Court did not know and could not have known that the final four months of Mr. Hernandez’s sentence would be served at a time of a worldwide pandemic to which persons with asthma, like Mr. Hernandez, have heightened vulnerability,” Englemayer said.
Engelmayer said he didn't have the legal authority to change the sentence, which prosecutors pointed out when they opposed the request made by Tekashi 6ix9ine, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez.
But he added that he was issuing “instructive guidance” that the Bureau of Prisons can use if it considers an application by Hernandez, 23, for early release to home confinement.
“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,” the judge explained.
In a letter to the judge, Hernandez's attorney, Lance Lazarro, revealed that the rapper was diagnosed with bronchitis and sinusitis in October and was denied a trip to the hospital despite a recommendation from the facility's medical director.
The lawyer said the rapper is serving his sentence in a private jail because he cooperated with prosecutors and because the government has control of him as a cooperator.
Hernandez was arrested in 2018 on racketeering, weapons and drugs charges, but his testimony against members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods gang earned him leniency and his cooperation with prosecutors helped him land a spot in a private prison for his own safety.
Hernandez's sentence was reduced from a potential 37 years in prison for crimes that included orchestrating a shooting in which an innocent bystander was wounded.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.