After two days of deliberation, the jury reached a verdict in the 6ix9ine/Nine Trey trial on Thursday afternoon, October 3. Defendants Anthony “Harv” Ellison and Aljermiah “Nuke” Mack were found guilty of racketeering by being members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods. In addition, Ellison was found guilty of kidnapping the controversial rapper Daniel “Tekashi 6ix9ine” Hernandez in July 2018, and of maiming someone in an unrelated incident in October of that year. Mack was found guilty of narcotics trafficking, for dealing heroin and MDMA.
While neither defendant testified during the case, Ellison communicated through his attorney and in public statements that Hernandez set up the kidnapping as a “stunt” to gain public sympathy. However, the twelve members of the jury decided otherwise, though they did find Ellison not guilty of related counts involving the use of a firearm in the kidnapping.
During his testimony as a cooperating witness, Hernandez shared his harrowing experience of being kidnapped, robbed of over $300,000 worth of jewelry, and beaten by Ellison and an accomplice in the early morning hours of July 22, 2018. Hernandez’s driver, Jorge Rivera, also told the events from his perspective, and the jurors saw video from inside Rivera’s car. In addition, numerous police and medical personnel who saw Hernandez in the aftermath of the incident testified that he appeared injured and disoriented, and Ellison’s cell records placing him in the area were shared by an expert.
The primary evidence against Mack, who was found not guilty of a firearms offense, was the testimony of Kristian Cruz. Also crucial were numerous prison phone calls between Cruz and Mack. Cruz, a former heroin dealer for Nine Trey, painted a detailed account of the gang’s inner workings when it came to narcotics. He explained how he would order fentanyl from China. After that, he would sell a combination of heroin, fentanyl or an analogue, and plain powder, representing it to the buyer as heroin (or “dog food,” in the code the crew would use on phone calls).
In court, Ellison’s supporters wore shirts saying “Power Forward” and bearing his initials. After the verdict, many were in tears. Ellison’s lead attorney Deveraux Cannick said that his client likewise was “shocked and disappointed.”
The lawyer said he didn’t understand how the jury could say that the kidnapping was real, but find his client not guilty of using a gun while committing it.
“I’m a little confused in that if you believe [Hernandez] was kidnapped, then you should have believed there was a gun,” he told reporters after the verdict was announced.
Mack’s lead attorney Louis Fasulo stayed optimistic, pointing out that his client being found not guilty on the count of using firearms in relation to narcotics trafficking was a victory.
“Beating the gun charge was great,” he said. “We have appeal ahead, and we’ll see where this lands.”
Sentencing for both defendants will happen in February: Mack on February 19 and Ellison on February 26.
On Thursday evening, a member of Ellison's legal team, Darnell Crosland, shared a statement with Complex. You can see it in full below.
Statement by attorney Darnell Crosland of Anthony "Harv" Ellison's legal team
After the jury has spoken we can only respect their decision and thank them for their service. They were working with a set of facts and circumstances to the best of their ability.
My feelings are that the jury didn’t believe Tekashi 6ix9ine anymore than they believed any of the other cooperators. Their verdict in my opinion was more of an indictment against a gang that was started decades ago on Rikers Island as opposed to one against Mr. Anthony “Harv” Ellison.
As an attorney close to the facts and the case I can only tell you this, if you spend any time with Mr. Ellison “Harv” you can’t help but to see the true person he is, the light that shines in him. He is soft spoken, kind, and very intelligent. He did his best for Tekashi 6ix9ine.
Even if the government felt that Tekashi 6ix9ine and the other cooperators were even more of a menace than those on trial, it finds itself in a numbers game. And the math is simple, make a deal with these five guys to secure a conviction against these two guys as opposed to risking acquittals at higher numbers.
The harsh reality of our justice system is this, it imposes what is known as a “Trial Tax” on those that exercise their right to trial. Thus leaving those that profess their innocence and elect a trial to face greater consequences than those that may have been more culpable but got to the cheese quicker.