Meek Mill granted new court hearing after accusations of biased judge

"We hope to have this injustice rectified once and for all," said an attorney for the rapper, who was sentenced in 2017 to prison following minor probation violations.
Image: Meek Mill speaks about changes to Pennsylvania's probation system in Philadelphia on April 2, 2019.
Meek Mill speaks about changes to Pennsylvania's probation system in Philadelphia on April 2, 2019.Matt Rourke / AP file

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By Erik Ortiz

Meek Mill has been granted a new hearing in a Pennsylvania court next month amid questions about the judge's impartiality — a legal victory for the rapper, whose case involving decade-old drug and gun convictions has become a focal point for critics calling for criminal justice reform.

An attorney for Mill, 32, said Tuesday that his defense team is "looking forward" to oral arguments during an appellate court hearing scheduled for July 16, and ultimately getting his client's conviction vacated.

"In light of the District Attorney's recent filing, where he supports the granting of a new trial to Meek and the recusal of [Common Pleas Court Judge Genece Brinkley], we hope to have this injustice rectified once and for all," attorney Jordan Siev said in a statement.

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Last month, Philadelphia's top prosecutor filed a brief that questioned the impartiality of Brinkley, who had been overseeing Mill's case and was the one who sentenced him in November 2017 to 2 to 4 years in prison for minor violations stemming from a 2008 drug and firearm possession case.

But in April 2018, Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, was ordered released on bail by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court — a move that came after prosecutors noted "credibility issues" with the police officer who was a critical witness in his initial arrest.

As a result, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office has requested a new trial based on whether that officer's evidence is credible.

In addition, the office of District Attorney Larry Krasner has also had issues with Brinkley, writing that her court "abused its discretion" when it imposed the sentence against Mill and she herself has unfairly "assumed the role of investigator" in his case after checking in on him at a homeless shelter where he was doing community service.

Mill's probation has been extended several times, and he has spent nearly a third of his life under the control of the court system.

An attorney representing Brinkley could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Mill, who garnered success with his 2012 debut studio album "Dreams and Nightmares," has been championed by the likes of rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z and billionaire businessman Michael Rubin, a limited partner in the Philadelphia 76ers.

Mill did not immediately comment on social media Tuesday about the new hearing. He most recently grabbed headlines after accusing the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas of discriminating against him when they denied him entry last month and threatened to have him arrested if he stepped foot on their property.

The hotel apologized on Twitter on Friday, and said "we did not act in a respectful manner and were wrong."