Tekashi 6ix9ine‘s lawyer has released a statement asserting his client’s innocence following the rapper’s federal arrest on Sunday night and charges that could lead to a potential life sentence. The rapper (real name Daniel Hernandez) has been charged with racketeering and gun possession and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 32 years if convicted.
“Daniel Hernandez is completely innocent of all charges being brought against him,” Hernandez’ attorney Lance Lazzaro wrote in a statement Wednesday. “An entertainer who portrays a ‘gangster image’ to promote his music does not make him a member of an enterprise.”
Much of the charges against Hernandez center on his involvement with the Nine Trey Bloods, an allegedly violent New York gang. According to arguments from Lazzaro at Hernandez’ arraignment hearing on Monday night, Hernandez was not a participating member of the gang, but had met members of the gang at a 2017 concert and hired them as management and security. Four other associates of Hernandez — all alleged members of the gang — were arrested on Sunday night and Monday morning in connection to the same racketeering charges.
“Mr. Hernandez became a victim of this enterprise and later took steps by firing employees and publicly denounced this enterprise through a morning show,” Lazzaro’s statement continues. Late last week, Hernandez took to Instagram to cancel his upcoming tour and announce that he’d fired his “whole team” after claiming they had been stealing from him. He subsequently appeared on New York radio station Power 105’s The Breakfast Club to explain his decision, publicly distancing himself from the men he would be charged with days later.
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“Threats were then made against his life which resulted in this case being brought immediately,” Lazzaro’s statement concludes.
Following his statements distancing himself from his former manager and security detail, a federal wiretap picked up threats against Hernandez’ life, including a promise to “violate” him. Hernandez was then brought into protective custody on Saturday night, which he later declined. After he planned to travel to Connecticut to visit a casino, Hernandez and others were arrested.