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PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — A Pennsylvania judge said Monday she’ll rule in “due time” after an evidence hearing to determine whether rapper Meek Mill should get a new trial in his decade-old gun and drug convictions.
The Philadelphia rapper appeared in court for a hearing Monday afternoon. Outside, a rally was held to support the rapper.
“I feel like what went on in the courtroom today is disgraceful,” said Meek Mill upon exiting the courthouse following his hearing in front of Judge Genece Brinkley. “There was laughing going on and to me, it’s not really a game.”
Legal experts have said the proceeding would be unusual and would likely be uncomfortable for Mill who, up until two weeks ago, aggressively fought to have Judge Genece Brinkley removed from the case.
“I feel like I just left an asylum,” Meek Mill’s attorney Joseph Tacopina said. “That was a kangaroo court if ever I’ve seen one before. You had a judge whose whole purpose today was to try and protect one of the most corrupt cops in Philadelphia history, try and defend him at the expense of the system, at the expense of doing justice.”
The hearing, before Brinkley’s court on the ninth floor, dealt specifically with evidence suggesting the Philadelphia police officer who arrested the recording artist a decade ago on a South Philadelphia street was tainted, with allegations he mishandled the arrest.
Mill’s attorneys have asked for a new trial based on credibility issues with former Philadelphia police officer Reginald Graham, who was pivotal in his arrest in 2007 and who testified at his trial. The Philadelphia district attorney’s office supported the request for a new trial, agreeing before Monday’s hearing that the “Commonwealth does not have confidence in the credibility of Reginald Graham’s testimony in this case.”
The attorneys also agreed that another officer who was part of Mill’s original arrest had given credible sworn testimony that contradicted Graham’s. The district attorney’s office also said it had information as early as 2014 related to Graham’s misconduct that was not shared with Mill’s attorneys until this year.
Despite the agreement, Judge Genece Brinkley scheduled an evidence hearing and said Monday she needed more time to review evidence that Graham had credibility issues in this case before ruling whether to allow a new trial.
A different Philadelphia judge has agreed to overturn convictions in at least three other cases in which Graham gave testimony, all without evidentiary hearings. The district attorney’s office decided not to retry those cases.
Mill’s attorneys said after the two-hour hearing Monday that the interactions with Brinkley were confrontational. One said Brinkley laughed at testimony from an expert witness, and another said her language during the hearing suggested that she had already decided to rule against Mill’s request.
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court denied a motion from the defense to have the case reassigned.
Brinkley sentenced Mill in November to two to four years in prison for violating probation related to two charges that were dismissed. She found him in technical violation of probation.
Mill served almost five months of the sentence before the state Supreme Court ordered his release on bond.
Police sources say they were expecting around 500 people for the “Stand With Meek Mill” event. Filbert Street was closed to traffic due to the rally.