Department of Justice attorneys asked a judge to go easy when sentencing 6ix9ine in light of his cooperation in a criminal investigation and assistance in a trial that ultimately resulted in convictions. DOJ attorneys filed a memo on Thursday (Dec. 5) requesting Judge Paul Engelmayer, who is overseeing 6ix9ine’s case, impose a sentence below the statutory minimum.
Last November, the Brooklyn-born 6ix9ine, whose legal name is Daniel Hernandez, 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 and 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.
Thursday’s 11-page memo from the office of United States attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman states that 6ix9ine joined the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods in November 2017 and used his association with them to “enhance his gangster persona” to help him 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 wiretap on one of the highest ranking members of Nine Trey. Initially, the meeting was just to offer protection, which 6ix9ine declined, but then 6ix9ine with his attorney “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, an assault rifle stored 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.
“[6ix9ine] provided the Government with critical insight into the structure and organization of Nine Trey, identified the gang’s key players, and described acts of violence that he personally witnessed or that he heard about from other Nine Trey members,” reads the DOJ memo. “After [6ix9ine’s] cooperation became public in February 2019, several of Hernandez’s co-defendants contacted the Government to begin plea discussions.”
In addition, the rapper was also recognized for his work testifying at trial against individuals, despite threats to his own safety and that of his family. The government pointed out that the murder of 6ix9ine’s step-father had a “devastating impact on his life,” leading to a life of crime.
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 memo also commends 6ix9ine’s truthfulness “from the onset of his cooperation.”
“He provided critical and detailed insight into the organization and structure of Nine Trey, its members and leaders, and the acts of violence committed by the gang,” reads the DOJ memo. “There is no question that [6ix9ine’s] life will never be the same because of his cooperation in this case. He and his family will have to take extra safety precautions when being in public so as to avoid potential reprisals from others.”
The DOJ 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.”