PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Rapper Meek Mill’s drug and gun convictions should be thrown out and he should be granted a new trial, prosecutors said in court Monday in an announcement that led his supporters outside to break into an impromptu dance party.
“The criminal justice needs reform. We need to be there, we need to have a voice. We need to speak up so we’re here today,” said protester Jocelyn Valencia.
Judge Genece Brinkley refused to free him on bail Monday after the announcement from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office during a hearing. She scheduled another hearing in June.
Philadelphia-born Mill was sentenced in November to two to four years in prison for violating probation on a roughly decade-old gun and drug case. Attorney Brian McMonagle said they will reach out to a higher court to get their client released.
Spokesman Ben Waxman said the prosecutor’s office agreed to the granting of a new trial “due to questions of credibility of the arresting officer.” The officer is among the police officers the prosecutor’s office has sought to keep off the stand in cases across the city because of credibility questions.
“The district attorney’s office has shown a lot of integrity in granting our request for a new trial,” McMonagle said. “They obviously have recognized and determined the criminal behavior of the arresting officer, which dates back prior to Meek’s arrest.”
Meek Mill’s mother, grandmother and 6-year-old son, Papi, were on hand at the rally outside the courthouse, which erupted into cheers after the district attorney’s announcement.
“I miss my dad very much,” Papi said. “He picks me up from school.”
“I just want to thank everybody that was on the team that made this possible and make it happen. They did a great job, a wonderful job and I hope to see my son soon because I really, really miss him,” said Mill’s mother, Kathy Williams.
Brinkley has been the subject of harsh criticism from Mill’s attorneys. They have unsuccessfully appealed the sentence multiple times and have called for Brinkley to recuse herself.
The judge defended herself earlier this month, saying the court has “has impartially and without prejudice presided over numerous proceedings in this matter since 2008.”
She added that “none of the allegations by (the) defendant constitute evidence that this court is unable to act impartially and without personal bias or prejudice with respect to this matter.”
She said Mill has raised “unmeritorious claims of impropriety in an attempt to unfairly judge shop.”
Since the sentencing, the rapper has received support from fans and high-profile figures, including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, Mayor Jim Kenney and Rick Ross.
Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack has also shown his support Mills.
“I just think there’s a lot of insanity and stupidness in the justice system so we need to change the way we do things here in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia,” said SStack.
Other celebrities have also shown support for his release.
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