A defendant in the Tekashi 6ix9ine racketeering case, Kooda B, will be temporarily released from prison over coronavirus concerns.
According to Complex, Judge Paul A. Engelmayer acknowledged at least four inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center where he’s in jail have contracted the coronavirus. Because Kooda has asthma, “the MCC has identified him as ‘high risk’ with respect to COVID-19.”
Last Thursday (March 27), Kooda’s attorney Lisa Scolari asked Engelmayer for her client to be released on the same $300,000 bond he was initially released on last year because of his asthmatic condition and susceptibility to COVID-19.
Scolari explained Kooda need a albuterol inhaler at least once a month due to “shortness of breath” and noted the deplorable prison conditions.
“They are overcrowded, making it impossible to enforce the social distancing necessary to prevent spread of the virus,” she said. “Inmates live in close quarters, share facilities such as sinks and showers. The MCC also has shortages of soap and disinfectants.”
Kooda B pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering last summer due to his involvement in the 2018 shooting of Chief Keef outside of the W Hotel in Times Square.
The government originally denied Scolari’s request, explaining Kooda’s “reliance on the current health crisis to secure his release — post-conviction and less than three months from sentencing —is unfounded and should be denied.” But evidently, Engelmayer took Scolari’s concerns seriously.
6ix9ine wasn’t so fortunate. His attorney Lance Lazzaro made a similar request last week but was denied. However, Engelmayer was sympathetic to his situation.
“At the time of sentencing, the Court did not know and could not have known that the final four months of Mr. Hernandez’s sentence would be served at a time of a worldwide pandemic to which persons with asthma, like Mr. Hernandez, have heightened vulnerability,” Engelmayer wrote. “Had the Court known that sentencing Mr. Hernandez to serve the final four months of his term in a federal prison would have exposed him to a heightened health risk, the Court would have directed that these four months be served instead in home confinement.”
The controversial rapper is expected to be released on August 2.