Rapper Fetty Wap was sentenced to six years in federal prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to a drug dealing charge, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced.
The artist, whose real name is Willie Junior Maxwell II, pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. According to court records, Maxwell and five acquaintances were indicted in October 2021 on conspiracy to distribute and possess controlled substances and use of firearms in connection with alleged drug trafficking in 2020.
In a 33-page memorandum filed on May 17, Maxwell’s lawyer Elizabeth Macedonio asked that he be sentenced to five years in prison, the mandatory minimum sentence, saying Maxwell only resorted to trafficking drugs as a result of personal issues in his life that limited his income, including a divorce and a lack of opportunities to perform during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maxwell’s defense said the rapper’s judgment became impaired and he became desperate to find a way to support his nine children and others close to him.
“He is described as a people pleaser and a person who gains great satisfaction from taking care of others,” Macedonio wrote. “Suddenly it felt like life was going in reverse and he became ashamed when he began to struggle to keep up the lifestyle that he created for so many.”
Fetty Wap arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 26, 2019.
Federal prosecutors, however, said that Maxwell should serve at least seven years, arguing that he didn’t need to traffic drugs for income and “did not act out of financial duress.”
“He had a lucrative career as a rap artist and the ability to make an honest living and provide for himself and his family. Indeed, the defendant told the Probation Department that he made $5 million during his music career,” prosecutors wrote. “Nevertheless, this defendant chose to supplement his income by trafficking large quantities of drugs – drugs he knew would ruin lives.”
Macedonio painted Maxwell as a model citizen who has been working hard to set aside money for his kids after he was released on bail on Nov. 5, 2021. She said that her client took any performance he could get.
“The work was not glamorous. Travel to and from these events often involved all night road trips and the venues were not what they once were,” Macedonio wrote. “That being said, Mr. Maxwell performed whenever he could and he put the money aside to provide for his children in his absence.”
But prosecutors argued that Maxwell’s character did not change after his arrest, saying that two months after being released, Maxwell had his bail revoked after he threatened someone over FaceTime with a gun and called them a “rat.”
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