Fetty Wap’s Lawyer Blames Depression and Pandemic as Factors to Drug Dealing

When the music industry was brought to a sudden halt due to the global health crisis in 2020, rapper Fetty Wap turned to drug dealing.

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The “Trap Queen” artist – born Willie Junior Maxwell II – plead guilty in August to conspiracy to distribute and possess controlled substances of 500 grams or more of cocaine.

The New Jersey native is scheduled to be sentenced in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday (May 24). Prosecutors believe the musician should receive a seven to nine-year prison sentence. However, Maxwell’s legal team has requested a minimum sentence of five years.

According to a sentencing memo obtained by Insider, the opposing counsel claims that the crime was “especially egregious” because he did not need the money due to his music career.

“He had a lucrative career as a rap artist and the ability to make an honest living and provide for himself and his family,” said the request. “Indeed, the defendant told the Probation Department that he made $5 million during his music career. Nevertheless, this defendant chose to supplement his income by trafficking large quantities of drugs — drugs he knew would ruin lives.”

In a court document filed by Maxwell’s attorney Elizabeth Macedonio, the involvement stemmed from “depression” and “compounding financial obligations” due to COVID-19.

“In or about 2020, with the coming of the worldwide pandemic, things began to change for Mr. Maxwell. There were no opportunities to perform, thus his income was severely limited,” read the statement. “He was sued personally, was going through a divorce, and was involved with a tour manager who was stealing from him.”

The memorandum later mentioned that the rapper was also grieving the death of his grandparents and “several other people who were close to him.” Allegedly, the financial burden significantly impacted his mental health.

“Depression and panic began to set in,” said the testimony, according to Consequence. “As stated, Mr. Maxwell took enormous pride in his ability to provide for his children and lend support to his other family members. He is described as a people pleaser and a person who gains great satisfaction from taking care of others. 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 had created for so many. His judgment became impaired. Desperate to keep up with his financial obligations, Mr. Maxwell became involved in the instant offense for a few months in the spring of 2020.”

Maxwell has confirmed that he was involved in drug trafficking in 2014 with his ex-girlfriend. He was arrested in October of 2021 but was released on bail. Over the summer, he was brought into custody after displaying a gun on FaceTime and threatening to kill someone. He has remained behind bars since the August 2022 incident.

Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

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