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District attorney says Meek Mill should get new trial, judge

Written by The Associated Press | May 22, 2019 3:49 PM
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FILE: Recording artist Meek Mill speaks at a gathering to push for drastic changes to Pennsylvania's probation system, in Philadelphia, Tuesday, April 2, 2019. House Democratic Whip Jordan Harris on Tuesday announced he will soon introduce a bill designed to result in fewer people on parole and for shorter periods of time. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

This story has been updated. 

(Philadelphia) -- Philadelphia's top prosecutor called for a new trial and judge for rapper Meek Mill on Wednesday, saying the former judge who sentenced him "abused its discretion" and has been biased against him.

District Attorney Larry Krasner's office filed a brief questioning Common Pleas Court Judge Genece Brinkley's "impartiality," citing her decision to check in on Mill at a homeless shelter where he was doing community service and later criticizing him for not doing more.

Krasner said she improperly referred to her own observations at his sentencing hearing.

"Judge Brinkley personally assumed the role of investigator," the brief says.

Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, became a symbol for criminal justice reform activists after Brinkley sentenced him to 2 to 4 years in prison for minor violations of his probation conditions in a decade-old gun and drug possession case in November 2017.

He spent months in prison before a court ordered him released in April of last year.

Krasner said Mill, 32, should get a new trial before a different judge. He said the court "abused its discretion when it imposed" the sentence on Mill. He had asked for a new trial but his request had been shot down. His appeal efforts continue.

Brinkley has denied any accusations she was biased against Mill during proceedings.

A message was left Wednesday with attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr., who represents Brinkley.

Mill's well-publicized sentencing became a lightning rod for calls to change state probation and parole laws. In January, he joined fellow rapper Jay-Z and the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and New England Patriots to announce the formation of the Reform Alliance.

An earlier story appears below. 

(Philadelphia) -- The district attorney of Philadelphia is calling for a new trial for rapper Meek Mill before a new judge.

The brief submitted Wednesday by District Attorney Larry Krasner says former Judge Genece Brinkley's court "abused its discretion" in 2017 in sentencing Mill to two to four years for violating an old gun charge.

Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, was released after serving four months. Mill's sentence for a minor probation violation became a lightning rod for criminal justice reform.

Krasner, who has called for Brinkley's removal in the past, said Mill should get a new trial before a different judge. The brief criticized Brinkley for checking up on Mill at a homeless shelter where he was doing community service.

A message was left Wednesday with attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr., who previously represented Brinkley.

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