The 6ix9ine Case: Where It Stands Now and What Might Come Next
The Tekashi 6ix9ine case has been eventful lately: two guilty pleas, a wild jailhouse interview, and hints that it all might be over soon.
Image via Getty/Arik McArthur
It's only Thursday, and already we've had one of the most eventful weeks in the perpetual roller coaster ride that is the 6ix9ine racketeering case.
As the week of June 3 began, seven of the case's 11 defendants had pleaded guilty. The most recent plea, back at the beginning of May, was Fuguan "Fubanger" Lovick, who admitted to letting off a shot inside the Barclays Center during an Adrien Broner fight in April 2018.
It seemed apparent that more guilty pleas were on the way, and a high-profile one came this past Monday with Kintea McKenzie, aka Kooda B. McKenzie pleaded guilty to "assault with a deadly weapon in aid of a racketeering conspiracy," which is a legalistic way of saying that 6ix9ine paid him to shoot at Chief Keef outside of Times Square's W Hotel in June 2018. (Keef's name is not mentioned in the plea, but the fact that he was the target is well established.) The plea seemed likely when the government revealed back in April that they found McKenzie's DNA on a water bottle discarded at the scene of the shooting. McKenzie's likely sentence (the "Stipulated Guidelines Range," in legal parlance) is between 46 and 57 months long, though the actual length of his time in prison will be determined by a judge in the fall.
Just two days after McKenzie's plea, another defendant joined the list. Denard Butler admitted to "participating in a racketeering conspiracy," and faces a probable sentence of between 77 and 96 months. In exchange for his plea, the government agreed not to prosecute Butler for his alleged role in the April 2018 robbery of 6ix9ine's former mentor Scumlord D!zzy. Other defendants, including Kifano "Shotti" Jordan and 6ix9ine himself, have already pleaded guilty to their own roles in that incident. In earlier court documents, Butler had been named as an "active participant" in the robbery. Followers of this case may remember that proceeds from the incident were famously found in 6ix9ine's apartment during a September 2018 raid, and footage of the robbery can easily be found on the internet (footage that was reportedly filmed by 6ix9ine himself).
A letter submitted to the court by U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman on Wednesday implied that more guilty pleas might be coming soon. Berman asked for a two-week delay in submitting paperwork to the remaining defendants. The reason? "The Goverment is in negotiations with the remaining defendants regarding pretrial dispositions. The requested adjournment will allow the parties sufficient time to continue those discussions, and if agreements are reached, to schedule change of plea conferences..." In other words, the then-remaining two defendants (Roland "Ro Murda" Martin and accused 6ix9ine kidnapper Anthony "Harv" Ellison) were currently negotiating guilty pleas, and the government thought it possible that both of them may plead before the end of the month.
This scenario—that all defendants plead guilty, thus avoiding a trial—is the exact one that 6ix9ine's lawyers have been very publicly hoping for. It means, among other things, that the star will not have to testify in open court against his former associates, which is something he would almost certainly have to do if a trial went forward.
Signs that the strategy may be bearing fruit came on Thursday afternoon, when the government announced a superceding indictment in the case. They added a new defendant, Aljermiah "Nuke" Mack, who was charged with dealing heroin, fentanyl, and MDMA. However, Martin's name was missing from the indictment, which is a strong hint that he either just pleaded guilty or is on the verge of doing so.
As if that wasn't enough for one week, an explosive video interview with Fuguan Lovick was posted to the BBN Network's YouTube page on Wednesday. In the clip, Lovick claims that his lawyer informed him that Shotti "turned evidence on me."
Lovick's lawyer Jeffrey Pittell tells Complex, "I obviously cannot discuss communications with my client. However, I am not aware that Mr. Jordan is cooperating against Mr. Lovick." The senior spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, Dawn Dearden, tells Complex that she can not comment on whether Jordan had cooperated.
So where does this leave things? If plea discussions with Ellison are far enough along that the government is telling the judge about them, and Martin is almost certainly pleading guilty, then the new defendant Mack is the only unknown quantity. It seems at least possible that the government's years-long case against the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods could be over before the summer ends.
And what's next for 6ix9ine? His sentencing is scheduled for January of 2020, but that was only set as a "control date." It could happen significantly earlier if there is no trial. His lawyers hope that he'll end up with no additional prison time, but right now there's no solid evidence that scenario will occur beyond their proclamations to TMZ. All we know for sure is that 6ix9ine pleaded guilty to charges that carry a total penalty of between 47 years and life in prison. However, if the government deems that he "successfully" cooperates with their efforts to prosecute the other defendants, they can ask for a sentence below the minimum. Exactly how far below is not specified: It could be his lawyers' hoped-for no time at all, or it could be decades. It will be up to the judge to decide whether to accept the government's recommendation, whatever that turns out to be. How much, if any, prison time 6ix9ine will receive—and whether he'll receive witness protection, a possibility his guilty plea acknowledged—is something we'll find out in the coming months.