6ix9ine is set to take the witness stand later this month at the racketeering trial of two accused members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods. When he testifies, the most controversial aspects of his past will be off limits to the defense.
Wednesday morning in Manhattan's Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, Judge Paul Engelmayer ruled on the government's request to exclude mention 6ix9ine's 2015 conviction for use of a child in a sexual performance during his testimony. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman had argued in a filing last week that mentioning the case, which involved 6ix9ine sharing videos of two men engaging in sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl, would "cause a jury to unfairly discount [his] testimony due to feelings of disgust." Counsel for defendant Aljermiah "Nuke" Mack argued that mention of the case should be allowed, because 6ix9ine had "lied" about the case in "a number of media outlets," which they intended to mention to cast doubt on his credibility as a witness.
Judge Engelmayer issued a compromise ruling that broke largely in the government's favor. The defense will only be able to mention that the rapper was convicted of a felony on a particular date, but not any details about the crime. In addition, they cannot bring up his past interviews about the case. Giving details, Engelmayer said from the bench, "would be inflamatory and grossly improper," and would amount to "character assassintation."
The judge also ruled that the defense cannot bring up media reports of 6ix9ine engaging in domestic violence. (His ex-girlfriend Sara Molina accused 6ix9ine of beating her in an article published by the Daily Beast in February.) The judge made clear that "no hint or suggestion" of the rapper's alleged domestic violence would be allowed at trial.
While 6ix9ine's past may not be allowed at trial, his music will be—or at least parts of it. Judge Engelmayer decided that sections of the videos the rapper's hits "Billy," "Gummo," and "Kooda" will be permissable to play at trial. However, large swaths of the tracks will be excluded, the judge explained, because they are "filled with rank misogny" and could therefore prejudice the jury.
This section of the hearing, most notable for hearing a federal judge quote lyrics like "Got the blicky, it holds fifty," broke down how much of each track would be used: approximately the first half of "Billy," the first seven lines of "Gummo," and the first five lines of "Kooda." The videos, Engelmayer said, provided a "public display of [Nine Trey] and the existence of its members" and were "intended to promote and glorify the gang." The video for Casanova's "Don't Run," which the government wanted to include because they claimed it referenced a failed attempt by Mack to rob the Roc Nation rapper, was excluded entirely.
Louis Fasulo, lead attorney for Mack, said afterwards that he was pleased. "We had a favorable ruling on the video," he told Complex. "We're looking forward to the trial, as is our client."
A number of other decision were made at Wednesday's conference. Two gory photos of an October, 2018 slashing allegedly commited by defendant Anthony "Harv" Ellison will be viewed at trial, something Ellison's counsel fought. While the judge called them "difficult to look at" and "gruesome," he said that the photographs "assist the jury in grasping the nature of the attack." In addition, wiretaps of phone calls made my co-defendant Jamel "Mel Murda" Jones, who has previously pleaded guilty, will be allowed. They reference tensions between Mack and 6ix9ine's former manager Kifano "Shotti" Jordan, who was also part of this case before pleading guilty this past March. "The war is just beginning," Jones says on the call. "There's going to be a part two. Mel Murda vs. Aljermiah."
The case continues with one final pre-trial hearing on September 10, before the trial begins on September 16.