06:19 GMT04 June 2020
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    As the coronavirus pandemic begins to spread throughout New York and across the United States in general, the situation for prisoners has become increasingly precarious. Those in confined, crowded spaces are among the most vulnerable to contracting the virus.

    Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine's release from federal custody was ordered on Thursday by a Manhattan federal court judge, which will see him placed under house arrest as the coronavirus outbreak envelops New York, court papers have revealed.

    Judge Paul Engelmayer said on Thursday that the rapper-turned-snitch should be released from private prison in Queens “immediately”.

    The former rapper, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, will complete the remaining four months of his sentence in “home incarceration” at an address sanctioned by his probation officer and will be tracked by GPS, Engelmayer wrote.

    “The defendant must remain at his residence except to seek any necessary medical treatment or to visit his attorney, in each instance with prior notice and approval by the Probation Department”, the judge said.

    The order comes after repeated attempts by Tekashi’s representatives to secure release due to his asthma, which puts him at greater risk of death if he contracts coronavirus while incarcerated in prison.

    Engelmayer had previously denied the requests for home confinement filed last week, saying that such decisions were usually made by the Federal Bureau of Prisons once convicts have been sentenced.

    Tekashi’s lawyer, Lance Lazzaro, issued a letter on Wednesday saying that Engelmayer has authority over his compassionate release request due to the rapper's incarceration in a private prison.

    The judge confirmed that he would grant the request and ordered federal prosecutors to provide their authorisation by 5pm on Wednesday, to which US Attorney Geoffrey Berman responded:

    “In the event the Court finds ‘extraordinary and compelling reasons’ presented by the defendant’s medical condition, placing him at high risk during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government does not oppose the defendant’s motion for compassionate release”, Berman said.

    Tekashi 6ix9ine faced decades of incarceration before cooperating with authorities to testify against members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods.

    He was found guilty of racketeering and other charges and sentenced in December to two years in prison. He is scheduled for release on 31 July.

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    New York, prisoner, coronavirus, COVID-19, Tekashi 6ix9ine
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