Rapper Meek Mill held a rally in front of Philadelphia's Criminal Justice Center before an important court hearing with a judge who sent him to prison earlier this year.
Mill, 31, was scheduled to go before Common Pleas Court Judge Genece Brinkley, 61, Monday to see if he should get a new trial after he was sentenced to two to four years in prison last fall for violating the terms of his probation for a 2008 drug and gun conviction, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"I got to go to court and finish fighting for my freedom," Mill, 31, told about 300 supporters at the "Stand With Meek Mill" rally, according to NBC News.
Mill said he got to spend Father's Day with his son, but there are so many men incarcerated who don't get the same opportunity. He wants to stand up for them, for people "caught up in darkness, who don't have the support."
Brinkley sentenced Mill to two to four years in prison in November for violating his probation, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court then unexpectedly released him on bail after he had served five months.
Mill faced two charges of parole violation: one that he popped a wheelie in a music video on a motorcycle and the other for an altercation at a Missouri airport. They were later dismissed, but he was still found in violation, according to NBC News.
Now, Mill wants a new trial — something prosecutors have not opposed — and he wants Brinkley removed from the case.
Mill's lawyers want the new trial because they say there are credibility concerns with the arresting officer, according to NBC News. At least three convictions based on the officer's testimony have been thrown out. They also claim that Brinkley treated him unfairly. The state Supreme Court heard the case and was split down the middle as to whether to remove Brinkley.
Before the rally, organizers put out a release that said:
“Judge Brinkley refuses to treat Meek equally and, in the process, is wasting taxpayer dollars to pursue a case against the district attorney’s recommendation. As a result, Meek continues to deal with the oppressive terms of his probation that keeps him and millions of others from living their lives, even after they’ve served their time,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Many celebrities and activists have spoken out in support of Mill, including Kevin Hart, The Rev. Al Sharpton and Jay-Z.
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