After years of legal struggles, Meek Mill has had his 2008 conviction on gun and drug charges overturned by a Pennsylvanian court on Wednesday (July 24). He has also been granted a new trial before a new judge.
These developments mean Mill is no longer a felon and no longer on probation, the Philadelphia rapper announced in a jubilant Instagram post.
Mill – born Robert Rihmeek Williams – had been convicted in 2008 for possessing drugs and a firearm, serving eight months in prison before being placed on probation for a decade. In 2017, the rapper served another five months behind bars for violating his probation – a sentence that provoked outcry by advocates and celebrities alike.
Yesterday, a Pennsylvanian court unanimously granted Mill a new trial and judge for his 2008 conviction. The Pennsylvania Superior Court also overturned the 2017 ruling that he had violated his probation, Billboard reports.
“I’d like to thank the Pennsylvania Superior Court judges for their wisdom and transparency in reviewing my case, unanimously overturning my conviction and granting me a new trial,” the rapper wrote in a statement. “The past 11 years have been mentally and emotionally challenging, but I’m ecstatic that justice prevailed.”
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“I’d like to thank the Pennsylvania Superior Court judges for their wisdom and transparency in reviewing my case, unanimously overturning my conviction and granting me a new trial. The past 11 years have been mentally and emotionally challenging, but I’m ecstatic that justice prevailed. This positive outcome wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my family, my attorneys, JAY-Z, Desiree Perez, Michael Rubin, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office and my supporters who have stood with me through the ups and downs. Unfortunately, millions of people are dealing with similar issues in our country and don’t have the resources to fight back like I did. We need to continue supporting them. I’m committed to working with my team at the REFORM Alliance to change these outdated laws and fix our broken criminal justice system.” – @meekmill #FreeMeek @REFORM
The Philadelphia District Attorney can now choose to re-try or drop the case. District Attorney Larry Krasner, who had previously requested a new trial for Mill, said “his office needs time to decide whether to drop the case”, AP says.
Per The New York Times, the appeals panel highlighted that the only witness who had testified against Mill in his 2008 trial, former Philly police officer Reginald Graham, later resigned from the department after an internal investigation adjudged him guilty of theft and lying. “Graham was the only witness to incriminate Williams at trial,” the panel noted.
The panel added that “reassignment to a different trial judge is necessary to avoid appearances of unfairness and partiality”. They removed Philadelphia judge Genece Brinkley – who had found the rapper guilty of violating probation in 2017 – from the case, because “she heard highly prejudicial testimony… and made credibility determinations in favour of a now-discredited witness”, AP notes.
The news came the same day Mill announced a new business venture: the launch of a record label with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Next month, a documentary about the rapper’s 2017 arrest and his work in the justice reform will premiere on Amazon. He will also embark on an extensive North American tour with Future this August.