The final day of Tekashi’s testimony was full of rarities, old favorites, surprises, and plenty of unexpected boldface names.
Daniel “Tekashi 6ix9ine” Hernandez wrapped up his time on the stand in the trial of accused Nine Trey Gangsta Blood members Anthony “Harv” Ellison and Aljermiah “Nuke” Mack by continuing to retrace his path from outrageous Vines to gang membership to his falling-out with the gang that helped lead him to stardom and protect him from rivals.
His testimony was helped along by recordings of phone calls and conversations, including one surprising call between Hernandez’s former co-defendnat Jamel “Mel Murda” Jones and Mel’s former Byrdgang capo Jim Jones. The contents of the call, which took place in the immediate aftermath of Hernandez’s November 2018 Breakfast Club interview where he disavowed his Nine Trey affiliates, had been previously known—Mel’s call for Hernandez to get “super-violated, super, super-duper” was big news late last year. But the fact of Jim Jones’ involvement was new, and took at least some observers by surprise. Jones, who Hernandez identified as a member of Nine Trey and a “retired rapper,” was saying that Tekashi—or someone around him—had to “get violated” for going against the crew.
“You better get to violating,” Jones told Mel. “One of them security better get hit. Something better happen… Shots for everybody, bro. Shots like we at the bar.”
Jim Jones wasn’t the only rap star mentioned. Cardi B’s name also came up in a rather confusing aside when Mack’s attorney Alex Huot attempted to suggest that Hernandez had followed Cardi B’s lead in using an affiliation with the Bloods to advance his career. Hernandez acknowledged that he knew of Cardi’s work, but denied that he took inspiration from her. [Editor’s note: Contrary to some reports, the full transcript of 6ix9ine's testimony shows that he never specifically named Cardi B as a part of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods. Read the transcript here].
But a good chunk of the day focused on the early morning hours of July 22, 2018, when Hernandez, desperate to find his best friend and collaborator Andrew “Trife Drew” Green in order to finish the “Fefe” video, hopped in a car with his driver Jorge Rivera and headed to Park Slope. He had the day before described in detail how he was kidnapped, assaulted, and robbed by Ellison and an accomplice named Sha. On Thursday, he enumerated how much jewelry was stolen ($365,000 worth, including a My Little Pony-themed piece made with real human hair) and explained why he lied in interviews afterwards about what happened.
Hernandez explained the discrepancies between the story he told under oath and the one he told Angie Martinez.
“I was humiliated,” he explained. “I constantly bragged that I was untouchable, I’m the king of my city.”
Also, he explained, he didn’t want to say who his attackers were because, at that point, he was still a part of Nine Trey and needed to obey its codes.
“I didn’t want to snitch,” he said. “I was still close with Shotti”—his former manager Kifano “Shotti” Jordan. “I was still part of the Nine Trey lineup, and there was a code. There was loyalty involved.”
In the aftermath of the kidnapping, Hernandez said, things turned ugly. The government played a long, angry monologue from Jordan, secretly recorded in Rivera’s car.
“He touched you. On my watch,” Jordan yelled about Ellison’s alleged assault on Hernandez. “Don’t make this like some internet shit when it’s not. You can’t be the king of New York because you’re dead.” In an ironic twist, in that same rant, Jordan made reference to “a federal investigation against us.”
The government showed a series of text messages between Ellison and an unknown party who wanted to buy “the bitch with the red face”—which referred to, they said, the Presidential Rolex with a red face that Ellison had stolen from Hernandez.
Another notable moment came when Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Longyear walked Hernandez through the crimes he admitted to in his cooperation agreement with the government. The rapper’s history of domestic violence, per Judge Paul Engelmayer’s earlier decision, was not mentioned. What was explained was the fact that the rapper had pleaded guilty to a previously unexplained charge involving heroin. Hernandez said it dated from before his stardom, in August 2017. He had introduced a person from California to someone he knew in Bushwick so they could make a drug deal, and made all of $2,000 for his trouble.
Hernandez also copped to an assault in Times Square, saying that he was with his co-defendants Shotti, Roland “Ro Murda” Martin, and Jesnel “Ish” Butler when he punched a man in the face. He also made a glancing nod to his October 2015 guilty plea for use of a child in a sexual performance, though only the date and not the substance of the charge was mentioned.
“I was humiliated,” Hernandez explained. “I constantly bragged that I was untouchable, I’m the king of my city.”
Hernandez was cross-examined first by Huot. The king of the trolls was asked to define “trolling.”
“Trolling means antagonizing, mocking at points. To me, [it means] me showing off a little bit of my personality.”
Huot attempted to bring up the rapper’s first attempt at viral fame, the so-called “pedigree Vine,” but the judge ruled it out. The lawyer attempted to give the jury a sense of the rapper’s fame.
How many songs did you make that charted?
Do you still have a lot of fans?
I hope so.
Even behind bars, Hernandez is still fighting chart battles. When Huot said that Dummy Boy went to No. 2 on the charts, Hernandez made a reference to the album’s controversial fight with ASTROWORLD for the top slot. “Actually, No. 1, but they cheated me,” he said.
Even behind bars, Hernandez is still fighting chart battles. When Huot said that ‘Dummy Boy’ went to No. 2 on the charts, Hernandez made a reference to the album’s controversial fight with ‘ASTROWORLD’ for the top slot. “Actually, No. 1, but they cheated me,” he said.
Ellison’s lead attorney, Deveraux Cannick, began by showing an Instagram post where Hernandez said, “Somebody please snatch my chain so my project can sell more,” in an attempt to set up the July kidnapping as a hoax. However, that idea quickly fizzled out when a date for the post couldn’t be established. Cannick then showed a video of Hernandez jokingly playing dead when in the hospital for asthma, presumably to establish the rapper’s love of trolling and fabrication. But he ended up not being able to play it in its entirety because of technical issues, and it was unclear if it would make its way back into the trial at a later date. Cannick also hit a roadblock when he attributed the lyric “I do my own stunts, Jackie Chan with it” to Hernandez, and the rapper explained that while it was on his song, it was actually written and performed by someone else. In fact, he went on, sometimes he had help with his own lyrics, as well, from Green.
“Sometimes I don’t even write the songs. Andrew writes them,” he elaborated.
By the end, Hernandez was exhausted, frequently stretching and fidgeting. He wrapped up just in time for the government to call NYPD officer Moses Lebron, who saw Hernandez in the immediate aftermath of the alleged kidnapping.
The rapper was “badly injured,” Lebron said. He was “erratic,” stumbling, had bruises, and there was blood “all over his face.”
After Lebron, Rivera took the stand, testifying in Spanish. His testimony, which will continue on Monday, laid out the April 2018 robbery at This Is 50 from his perspective.
After the long day, Ellison’s lawyer Calvin Scholar was optimistic.
“I think that today went well,” he told Complex. “I think there were many differences between direct [examination] and cross with respect to the testimony.”
“We had a good week,” said Mack’s lead attorney, Louis Fasulo. “The truth will be told.”