Prosecutors unopposed to release of rapper Meek Mill
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Prosecutors in Philadelphia are not opposed to the release of rapper Meek Mill while he appeals a probation violation sentence, they said on Wednesday, citing concerns about whether his conviction will ultimately be upheld.
Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, was sentenced in November to two to four years in prison for violating probation on a roughly decade-old gun and drug case.
Prosecutors have confirmed that the arresting officer was among those prosecutors from the previous administration tried to keep off the witness stand because of credibility questions. They cited accusations against him by other officers in saying there was "a strong showing of likelihood" of the conviction "being reversed (in whole or in part)."
The district attorney's office said its policy was not to request more than six to 12 months for technical violations of probation and parole, and it was unlikely that the appeal could be decided within six months. Mill has spent more than two years in custody or on house arrest, and if the conviction is reversed there is a risk of an unjust or disproportionate sentence having been served and "that risk increases as long as (Mill) remains in custody," the office said.
Judge Genece Brinkley, who will decide whether Mill is freed, has been the subject of harsh criticism from Mill's attorneys, who have asked her to recuse herself from the case. The judge has hired an attorney who accuses Mill's legal team of making baseless claims to the media about the judge's personal and professional conduct.
Defense attorney Joe Tacopina hailed the prosecutor's decision and said in a statement, "We look forward to his immediate release by the court on bail in light of this development."
Mill's mother, Kathy Williams, who a day earlier had called on the district attorney to weigh in on the case, expressed gratitude for the action.
"The fact that Robert's entire conviction could be overturned is a blessing and I pray that God gives Judge Brinkley the wisdom to make the right decision and allow my son to return home to his family," she said. "I truly believe justice will prevail."