Philly DA’s Office: Meek Mill should get a new trial

Meek Mill is one step closer to freedom.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office said in court Monday that due to questions about the credibility of his arresting officer, the rapper’s decade-old conviction on gun and drug charges should be vacated and he should be granted a new trial.

The admission, made by Assistant District Attorney Liam Riley during a status hearing in Mill’s case, marked the first time that prosecutors have said they agree with his lawyers about the validity of his original arrest. It also could open the door for prosecutors to decline to press forward with a new trial at all.

Still, Mill’s release from prison is not yet secured.

Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley, who in November sentenced Mill to two to four years in prison for violating his probation, ultimately would have to agree to toss out the charges — and she did not do so Monday. Instead, she scheduled another hearing for June, and she refused to hear arguments from Mill’s attorneys that he should be let out on bail.

Brian McMonagle, one of Mill’s lawyers, said his team would be filing motions with higher courts Monday seeking to secure his release “immediately.” McMonagle said his team was “elated” by the decision of the District Attorney’s Office.

Mill, 30, has been incarcerated since November, when Brinkley sentenced him to prison.

The decision sparked immediate outrage, with athletes, musicians, and other celebrities saying the outcome demonstrated the flaws of the criminal justice system. Protesters rallied outside the Criminal Justice Center to call for Mill’s release, and political leaders including Mayor Kenney and Gov. Wolf have since expressed varying degrees of support for the Philadelphia-born Mill, whose legal name is Robert Rihmeek Williams.

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Perhaps his most concrete reason for optimism came when District Attorney Larry Krasner — who took office after Mill was sentenced — said his office had questions about whether Mill’s original conviction should stand. That position, made public in a motion Krasner’s office filed last month, was taken after Mill’s legal team produced evidence accusing his arresting officer, Reginald V. Graham, of lying to secure his conviction.

Still, the fate of his case — at least for the moment — lies in the hands of Brinkley, the judge whom Mill’s supporters have spent months petitioning to have removed from the case and accused of ethical improprieties.

Earlier this month, the judge defended herself  in an opinion filed in court, saying she had “committed no error” and that her sentence of Mill was “not manifestly excessive.” She also struck back at his legal team, accusing them of making evidence-free allegations about her behavior in overseeing his case.



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