An attorney for rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine says his client is “completely innocent” of federal racketeering and weapons charges.
The hip-hop star, 22, was arrested Sunday night in New York City.
Prosecutors filed six charges against Tekashi (real name Daniel Hernandez), including conspiracy with others to commit racketeering, discharging a firearm while committing a crime, committing a crime of violence in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon, carrying a firearm, and committing a crime in aid of racketeering, the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed to the media.
The Fefe performer — along with five other associates who were arrested (his ex-manager Kifano “Shottie” Jordan, Faheem “Crippy” Walter, Jensel “Ish” Butler, Jamel “Mel Murda” Jones, and Fuguan “Fu Banga” Lovick) — appeared in a Manhattan court Monday for an arraignment hearing.
Tekashi was denied bail because prosecutors believe he’s a possible flight risk.
Tekashi — who fired his entire management team last week — argued his innocence Wednesday via a statement from his lawyer, Lance Lazzaro.
“Daniel Hernandez is completely innocent of all charges being brought against him,” the statement read, according to Rolling Stone. “An entertainer who portrays a ‘gangster image’ to promote his music does not make him a member of an enterprise.”
“Mr. Hernandez became a victim of this enterprise and later took steps by firing employees and publicly denounced this enterprise through a morning show,” he added. “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.”
“Threats were then made against his life which resulted in this case being brought immediately,” the statement concluded.
The New York Police Department, Homeland Security, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) conducted the investigation against Tekashi and his friends, alleging that the group was involved in the violent gang “Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods” aka “Enterprise” and “Nine Trey.”
“Nine Trey was a criminal enterprise involved in committing numerous acts of violence, including shootings, robberies, and assaults in and around Manhattan and Brooklyn,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
They continued: “Members and associates of Nine Trey engaged in violence to retaliate against rival gangs, to promote the standing and reputation of Nine Trey, and to protect the gang’s narcotics business. Members and associates of Nine Trey enriched themselves by committing robberies and selling drugs, such as heroin, fentanyl, furanyl fentanyl, MDMA, dibutylone, and marijuana.”
Two of the charges against the rapper have a maximum sentence of life in prison and the New York native faces a minimum of 32 years in prison if convicted.
Tekashi’s Instagram account also released a statement about his new album, DUMMY BOY.
“Due to circumstances beyond our control we have postponed the release of Tekashi 6ix9ine’s Dummy Boy until further notice,” the post read.
This isn’t the first time Tekashi has had problems with the law.
In 2015, the entertainer pled guilty to use of a child in a sexual performance, agreeing to obtain his GED and “not commit any crime or violation during the two-year adjournment” as apart of a plea deal, according to published reports.
Three years later, he was arrested for allegedly choking a 16-year-old male at a mall in Texas. Then in May, Tekashi was charged with operating a vehicle without a license and facilitating aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle after he allegedly parked in front of a fire hydrant illegally.