CHESTER, Pa. (CBS/AP) — Meek Mill will is a free man.
The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court directed the judge on Tuesday afternoon to free the rapper on unsecured bail from the State Correctional Institution in Chester.
The 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.
Mill left the prison and got into a helicopter around 6:45 p.m. In less than an hour, he arrived at the Wells Fargo Center where he rang the bell prior to the Sixers-Heat playoff game.
In a statement on Twitter, Mill said he will be working closely with his legal team to “overturn this unwarranted conviction.”
“I’d like to thank God, my family, and all my public advocates for their love, support and encouragement during this difficult time. While the past five months have been a nightmare, the prayers, visits, calls, letters and rallies have helped me stay positive,” the statement reads. “To the Philly District Attorney’s office, I’m grateful for your commitment to justice. I understand that many people of color across the country don’t have that luxury and I plan to use my platform to shine a light on those issues. In the meantime, I plan to work closely with my legal team to overturn this unwarranted conviction and look forward to reuniting with my family and resuming my music career.”
Dozens gathered outside the medium-security prison on Tuesday awaiting Mill’s release.
Earlier in the day, comedian Kevin Hart and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin visited Mill. Hart is the latest famous face to show support of the 30-year-old hip-hop artist. Like Mill, Hart is from North Philadelphia.
“Look, I’m not gonna sit up here and say that he is an angel and that he’s this guy, that’s, you know, sitting in a halo. I think as anybody else in life he has done wrong and doing wrong, he’s paid for it. He’s done his time,” said Hart.
This is the first visit for Hart, but Rubin has visited the rap star about a dozen times.
“For my perspective, we need to keep bringing light to the situation until he’s released from prison,” said Rubin.
Last week, Spokesman Ben Waxman said the Philadelphia District Attorney’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.
Judge Genece 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, Mayor Jim Kenney and Rick Ross.
Mill is scheduled for a hearing in June.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)