Update: Tekashi 6ix9ine will reportedly reject witness protection and attempt to reactive his hip-hop career once he’s released from prison.
Last week, Tekashi 6ix9ine appeared in a New York Federal Court as the star witness in a case against two members of Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods. The former rapper agreed to testify in hopes of getting a lesser sentence on his own charges related to racketeering, firearm possession, drug trafficking, and conspiracy to commit murder.
As part of his plea deal, 6ix9ine will likely enter the witness protection program, according to The New York Times. A former F.B.I. official who worked on organized crime cases told the Times that even a celebrity as recognizable as Tekashi 6ix9ine can find anonymity in witness protection.
“Despite how connected we are, and the appetite for social media content in this country, there are places where, if this kid gets a haircut and wears normal clothes, no one would know or care who he is,” explained former F.B.I. official Jay Kramer.
That said, the Times says it’s unlikely that the United States Marshals Service, which runs the witness protection program, would pay for the removal of 6ix9ine’s signature face tattoos. (His rainbow hair has faded to its natural color during his time in prison.)
For now, Tekashi 6ix9ine can enjoy the protection of solitary confident behind bars. How much longer he remains there is dependent on whether the US District Attorney plans to use him as a witness in any other cases. While on the stand last week, 6ix9ine said he expects to be freed by early 2020.