Rapper Meek Mill spent Father's Day this year out of prison and with his young son — something that seemed impossible before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unexpectedly ordered him free on bail almost two months ago.
"I got to go to court and finish fighting for my freedom," Mill, 31, told supporters Monday afternoon at a Stand With Meek Mill rally outside Philadelphia's Criminal Justice Center.
He added that he will stand up for others unjustly incarcerated, people "caught up in darkness, who don't have the support."
The hip-hop chart-topper then walked into the court building, where Mill’s lawyers argued that he should get a new trial in his decade-old gun and drug convictions.
But after a sometimes-testy two-hour hearing, Court of Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley disagreed, saying she needed more time to review evidence that Mill’s arresting officer has a credibility problem, NBC Philadelphia reported.
At least three convictions of other defendants based on that officer's testimony have been thrown out this year.
The Philadelphia district attorney's office is not opposing Mill's request for a new trial. Prosecutors have even said the initial charge should be vacated after the arresting officer landed on a list of law enforcement officials suspected of lying in court and framing witnesses over the years.
In addition, attorneys for Mill, born Robert Rihmeek Williams, have sought to have Brinkley removed from the case, arguing that she's been unfair in her sentencing and treatment of the rapper. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently split evenly on a request by Mill to remove Brinkley from his case, a decision that left the judge in place.
Brinkley sentenced Mill in November to two to four years in prison for violating probation, although the two charges that resulted in the violation — one for popping a wheelie without a helmet on a motorcycle while shooting a music video, and the other for an altercation at a Missouri airport — were later themselves dismissed. He was still found in technical violation of his probation.
Mill, who garnered success with his 2012 debut studio album, "Dreams and Nightmares," served five months in prison before the state Supreme Court ordered his release.
At Monday's rally, supporters shouted for Brinkley to either recuse herself or "drop this case."
Marc Lamont Hill, a Temple University professor and activist, stressed at the rally that while Mill remains out of prison, he's still not technically free.
"The reason we want to keep Meek free is because he doesn't just represent himself, he represents Philadelphia, he represents poor people, he represents black people, he represents brown people," Hill told the crowd.