The 23-year-old hip-hop provocateur whose real name is Daniel Hernandez had previously testified that he began cooperating with prosecutors just a day after his arrest for racketeering in November 2018.
“I felt stuck, like the gang had control of my life and that I would never be able to escape their grip. I needed to do something before it was too late,” he wrote the judge, who is set to sentence him next week.
The revelation came as Hernandez agreed to testify against former cohorts and Nine Trey members Anthony “Harv” Ellison and Aljermiah “Nuke” Mack during their own trial on charges that include kidnapping the “Gummo” rapper.
“Before my arrest I publicly disassociated myself from Nine Trey, but I knew that it would come with a price. I knew from previous incidents that the gang would retaliate against me for denouncing them in public. I know that I am not a victim because my actions contributed to this mess. I now know that I am remorseful for what happened because I was blessed with the gift of an opportunity that most people dream of, but I squandered it by getting involved with the wrong people and misrepresenting myself when I should have been true to myself and my fans,” he wrote.
The rapper’s letter was filed alongside testimonials regarding Tekashi’s character, including his charity work for children with cancer, as the Brooklyn-born star faces a mandatory minimum of 47-years behind bars under the terms of his guilty plea. However, due to his cooperation with the government, which was called “extraordinary” by the prosecutors, the rapper could be sentenced to as little as time-served.
Defence attorney Lance Lazzaro filed his own letter on Wednesday asking the judge to show mercy, saying his client went above and beyond to help the feds take down the gang and had seriously jeopardized his life as a result.
“Despite the significant threat to his music career and his personal safety, Mr. Hernandez, a very well known public figure, publically testified both credibly and powerfully in a highly publicized trial with led to the convictions of two Nine Trey members,” Lazzaro wrote, adding that even if released the rapper “will likely be looking over his shoulder, or relying on added security, for decades to come. He may also be forced to repeatedly move his family several times in order to keep them safe.”