Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
Tekashi 6ix9ine is a free man due to the coronavirus pandemic that spurred a federal judge in Manhattan to release him early from prison because of his asthma, which makes the rapper-turned-informant more vulnerable to the novel virus.
Lance Lazzaro, an attorney for Tekashi, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, confirmed the rapper's release to Fox News, saying, "We are all very happy that he was released."
He told the Los Angeles Times in a phone interview: “The judge granted the motion basically because of the virus that’s ravaging our nation."
"In prison, you can’t practice isolation or containment; it’s just not feasible," Lazzaro told the newspaper.
According to multiple reports, Tekashi was sprung from a private prison in Jamaica, Queens, by Judge Paul Engelmeyer on Thursday after more than a week of failed attempts from Hernandez’s legal defense team to persuade the Bureau of Prisons to release him early from his sentence, which prior to Thursday was set to end on Aug. 1., for his conviction on racketeering charges last year.
Per the terms of his release, Hernandez, 23, will serve the remainder of his 2-year sentence from the confines of his home, and during the first four months of home incarceration will be subject to GPS monitoring and may only leave the premises for necessary medical treatment or to visit his legal counsel -- which must first be approved by the probation department.
Furthermore, if the GPS monitoring device goes offline or malfunctions, Hernandez will be required to hop on a daily video call with his probation officer, according to TMZ.
As far as federal prosecutors go, the gossip outlet relayed that the folks who put Hernandez behind bars after he cooperated with them and testified against several members of the Nine Trey Bloods gang, which led to other arrests, had zero objection to the compassionate release of Hernandez as long as the judge found “extraordinary and compelling reasons” to do so.
At the time of Tekashi's sentencing, Engelmeyer referenced Bruce Springsteen when he handed down the punishment, telling the rapper: “You, Mr. Hernandez, essentially joined Murder Incorporated."
The Brooklyn-born performer was being held in protective custody at the detention facility where he was serving his time and, according to the New York Daily News, Hernandez was released out of a rear prison exit some 90 minutes before Engelmeyer’s judgment was made public.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is extraordinary and unprecedented in modern times in this nation. It presents a clear and present danger to free society for reasons that need no elaboration. COVID-19 presents a heightened risk for incarcerated defendants like Mr. Hernandez with respiratory ailments such as asthma,” Engelmayer wrote.
He continued: "The Centers for Disease Control warns that persons with asthma are at high risk of serious illness if they contract the disease. Further, the crowded nature of municipal jails such as the facility in which Mr. Hernandez is housed present an outsize risk that the COVID-19 contagion, once it gains entry, will spread. And, realistically, a high-risk inmate who contracts the virus while in prison will face challenges in caring for himself.”
Hernandez will be living with his mother and other family members, his defense team said in court filings.