According to 4 NBC, Tekashi, whose birth name is Daniel Hernandez, was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday. He could have been sentenced to decades in prison for crimes that included orchestrating a shooting in which an innocent bystander was injured. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges accusing him of being a part of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods. However, he agreed to be a star witness and earlier this year, he testified against fellow gang members causing him to be cemented with the “snitch” label. His testimony played a part in convicting two high-ranking Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods members.
Under the terms of his two-year sentence, the judge allowed the time he already spent in prison to count towards it, so technically he should be out in 11 months. He’ll be put on five years supervised probation and have 300 hours of community service after this, according to CNN.
“Your cooperation was impressive. It was game changing. It was complete and it was brave,” said U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer as he revealed the sentence, which is much lower than federal guidelines for the crimes.
Before his Wednesday sentencing, Tekashi said he regretted joining the gang and he apologized to his family, his fans and the victims in the case.
“I’m not a victim. I put myself in this position from Day One,” Tekashi said. He later broke down in tears shortly after when he noticed his biological father in the courtroom. Tekashi says he hasn’t seen him since the 3rd grade. Tekashi then read from a long letter, saying, “I made a lot of bad choices in life, but that does not make me a bad person.”
He expressed similar sentiments in a letter he wrote last week to Engelmayer, discussing the relief he felt when he was arrested. He said he plans on making amends by steering others away from the path he chose.
“I’m happy that the public was able to witness me dealing with the consequences of my actions because I feel like it sheds a light on what can come from gang affiliation,” he wrote.
In a pre-sentencing letter to the judge, prosecutors explained that Tekashi’s “cooperation was extraordinary” and was “both incredibly significant and extremely useful,” allowing them to charge additional individuals. His Feb. 1 guilty plea also moved nearly all of the other defendants to start plea negotiations, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors have deemed Nine Trey as one of the most violent groups to come out of United Bloods Nation, with members across the country. Tekashi relocated his family before his cooperation became public news and then he was moved to another prison facility and a unit with no gang members, according to the feds.
His actions could make him eligible for a witness protection program. “There is no question that the defendant’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,” prosecutors explained in the letter.
In a September testimony, Tekashi told jurors that his position in Nine Trey was to “just keep making hits and be the financial support for the gang … so they could buy guns and stuff like that.” When asked what he received in return, Tekashi responded: “My career. I got the street credibility. The videos, the music, the protection — all of the above.”
Tekashi faced constant ridicule for cooperating with authorities from other rappers like The Game and Snoop Dogg.
Twitter had mixed reactions when Tekashi’s sentence was revealed. You can check out some of the responses below.