Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine has been released from prison four months early due to coronavirus concerns.
Tekashi 6ix9ine, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, will serve out the remainder of his sentence from home confinement.
US District Judge Paul A Engelmayer made the ruling on Thursday, citing the rapper’s asthma and the fact that Hernandez would be more susceptible to infection by the coronavirus outbreak behind bars.
“In light of the heightened medical risk presented to Mr Hernandez by the Covid-19 pandemic, there are extraordinary and compelling reasons to reduce Mr Hernandez’s sentence,” the judge said.
Tekashi 6ix9ine’s lawyer said the rapper was diagnosed in October with bronchitis and sinusitis.
Those with underlying conditions are said to be more likely to be vulnerable to the more serious complications of the novel respiratory disease.
Tekashi 6ix9ine is serving a two-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to charges related to gang activity.
During confinement, he will be electronically monitored and will only be allowed to visit his doctor and his lawyer.
The rapper’s representation was pleased with the decision to allow his early release.
“Considering today’s challenging circumstances as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, inmates are especially vulnerable to contracting the virus,” attorney Lance Lazzaro told CBS News. “The Court showed great compassion today and my client is very grateful.”
Prosecutors did not oppose the action.
The judge said that “a raging and virulent pandemic that has entered federal prisons in New York City” made the release necessary.
Experts and authorities have said that prisons could be breeding grounds for the disease, with inmates forced to remain in close proximity increasing chances of infection.
Advocates have put pressure on the government to release inmates who are serving minor sentences or who have underlying health conditions.
Across New York, 900 prisoners have been released to stem the spread of the pandemic, which has now infected more than 260,000 people in the US, according to statistics by John Hopkins University.
Elsewhere, California announced on Tuesday that prisons are granting early release to 3,500 inmates to reduce crowding and slow the spread of the virus across facilities, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Additional reporting by agencies.
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