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Meek Mill might be getting a new trial

Philadelphia DA decision is grounded in misgivings over the credibility of the arresting officer.

Jailed rapper Meek Mill might be getting a new trial.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office said Monday that Mill’s decade-old conviction on firearm and drug charges should be vacated, and that prosecutors should start the case from scratch.

The DA said its decision was grounded in lingering misgivings over the credibility of the officer who originally arrested Mill.

Crowds of Mill’s supporters gathered outside the courthouse, and cheered as his lawyers announced the DA’s decision to back a new trial for the rapper.


Brian McMonagle, one of Mill’s lawyers, said that they planned to file motions with higher courts in an effort to secure his immediate release. Judge Genece Brinkley, who has overseen Mill’s case since the get-go, has scheduled another hearing for June and has refused to hear arguments from his lawyers that he should be released on bail, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Mill’s case was regarded as a test for newly elected Philly DA Larry Krasner, a progressive Democrat who campaigned on promises to overhaul the criminal justice system. In March, Krasner’s office filed a motion saying there was “a strong showing of likelihood of [Mill’s] conviction being reversed,” citing evidence that accused now-retired officer Reginald V. Graham, who arrested Mill in 2007, of lying to secure his conviction.

Graham was also among two dozen officers blacklisted by the DA’s office for alleged tendencies to lie under oath, exhibit racial bias, and engage in brutality against civilians, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported in February.

Read more: The Philly cop who jailed Meek Mill was on a secret watch list kept by the DA

Mill was 19 and a rising teen rapper when he was arrested on Jan. 24, 2007, for alleged drug possession and allegedly pointing a gun at an officer. Mill’s lawyer has said that his client has always maintained his innocence on both counts. Mill was nevertheless convicted the following year, and in January 2009 was sentenced to 11.5 to 23 months behind bars, and seven years of probation. Mill was released on house arrest after spending five months in jail.


Mill, now 30, was sentenced in November 2017 to two to four years behind bars by Judge Genece Brinkley for violating the terms of his probation, which his lawyer claims was excessively long to begin with, given his original charges. In addition to making unauthorized travel plans and testing positive for marijuana and opioid use, the most serious of the violations cited by Brinkley were a fight at St. Louis airport (the charges against him were dropped) and popping a wheelie on a bike in New York City.

Read more: Larry Krasner is trying to transform criminal justice in Philadelphia

Mill’s case has become a cause celebré for criminal justice reform advocates, including Jay-Z, who signed Mill to his record label Roc Nation in 2012. Jay-Z, writing in a New York Times op-ed, said that Mill’s plight is “just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day.”

In a recent interview with NBC, Krasner said Mill was a poster child for criminal justice reform. “Across the board, African-Americans are ending up with worse sentences over and over than white people," Krasner said.

Cover image: Rapper Meek Mill attends his 'Wins And Losses' album signing at DTLR - Rhode Island Ave on July 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brian Stukes/Getty Images)