• The San Juan Daily Star

Music producer ‘Raphy’ Pina to appeal 3-year, 5-month prison sentence

Rafael Antonio “Raphy” Pina Nieves

Was convicted last December for firearms violations

By John McPhaul

Record producer Rafael Antonio “Raphy” Pina Nieves and his defense attorneys said Tuesday they would file an appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston of the 41-month sentence imposed by federal judge Francisco Augusto Besosa for the illegal possession of two firearms, one of which was altered to fire automatically.

“I am going to appeal. As you all know, I am a person who does not give up,” Pina Nieves said as he left the Federal Court in Old San Juan. “This is another ‘round’ for my family, for me, for my friends and for the business. This business is not drug trafficking. It is not money laundering. People have been investigating me since 2018. They have tried to link me in one way or another because of my boats, because of my luxuries. Today I am standing here and I say it publicly, that it is for being a reggaeton producer, it is not for anything else. They couldn’t prove anything.”

The impresario said he would go home and prepare to report to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo at or before 3 p.m., which was the deadline granted by Besosa to turn himself in and start serving his sentence.

Pina Nieves said he has already made the corresponding arrangements in his business so that it can continue operating until he has served his time.

Defense attorney María Domínguez said “today a motion will be filed requesting the suspension of these processes.”

“Bond will be requested on appeal during the appeal process,” she said. “We believe that we have meritorious legal arguments that will prevail.”

Meanwhile, attorney Francisco Rebollo Casalduc said they will show in the appeal process that prosecutors misled Besosa.

“[The prosecutors] misled the trial judges, but they cannot defend [their arguments] on appeal. There you see the case of Sally López, you see the case of the Falcón sisters, you see the two cases of Héctor Martínez and Juan Bravo, you will see the case of the so-called Massacre of the Tómbola, the case of Pablo Casellas, the case of Braulio Agosto, all high-profile cases that were seen here in the District Court; the prosecutors induced the court and could not defend the convictions up there,” Rebollo Casalduc said. “That is what I predict will happen in this case, that we will be here in a few months, fighting the battle again.”

In addition to the 41 months in prison, Besosa sentenced Pina Nieves to three years of supervised release and a fine of $150,000.

During his final argument, prosecutor José Ruiz said the requested sentence could have been less if Pina Nieves had given some indication of repentance.

In addition to the prosecutor, defense attorney Domínguez and one of her sisters spoke before the judge.

Upon his arrival at Federal Court, Pina Nieves gave thanks for the support he has received. He noted that the production of a documentary about his life has already been finished.

Meanwhile, Ramón Luis “Daddy Yankee” Ayala Rodríguez, who came to the Federal Court in support of Pina Nieves, stated that “I am here as a friend and caretaker of his family.”

Rebollo Casalduc had already anticipated that they would appeal the sentence imposed.

Pina Nieves was found guilty last Dec. 22 by a jury for possessing two firearms that were seized in a residence of the businessman in the Caguas Real urbanization. Defense attorneys unsuccessfully argued that the weapons were planted in the residence by someone else.

In addition, they unsuccessfully asked the judge to give him a probationary sentence, so that he could contribute to the upbringing of his children and to the well being of the country with his altruism. As owner of the record label Pina Records, the impresario produces and manages urban genre artists such as R.K.M. and Ken-Y, Nicky Jam, Don Chezina, Lito y Polaco, Plan B and Natti Natasha, with whom he also has a daughter.

Pina Nieves has four children.

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