Tekashi 69 always knew that he put himself in danger by testifying in the federal case against his former Nine Trey Blood cohorts Harv and Nuke Mack. His family wouldn’t go anywhere near the courthouse during his testimony, despite hiring increased security, and Tekashi himself has been sequestered in a special unit of the prison where he’s currently incarcerated. However, according to a New York Times summary of the case, he may still have witness protection as an option — there’s just one catch: He’ll likely need to pay to have his distinctive “69” face tattoos removed himself.
According to the New York Times, “Prosecutors have indicated he could enter the witness protection program,” but that “it is unlikely the United States Marshals Service, which runs the witness protection program, would pay for the removal of Mr. Hernandez’s [Tekashi’s real name] signature face tattoos.” A quote from Jay Kramer, a former FBI official who worked on organized crime cases, says, “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.”
And while there are many who skeptical that Tekashi could keep to himself and keep his head down, it’s likely that the experience has wearied him on the prospects of fame. Being kidnapped and robbed and getting entangled in shootouts and broad-day brawls is likely not what he signed up for when he recruited the members of Nine Trey to fill out his “Gummo” music video — being labeled a “snitch” by half of hip-hop, even less so. If Tekashi does decide to go into witness protection, it will be a chance for him to leave his biggest mistakes behind him.