Rap­per’s sup­port­ers hold rally at court­house

New York Daily News - - NEWS - Rachel DeSan­tis BY GRA­HAM RAYMAN With Leonard Greene

SUP­PORT­ERS OF the jailed rap­per Meek Mill held a rally Mon­day night out­side a Philadel­phia court­house — as his lawyers pre­pared to ask the sen­tenc­ing judge to quit the case.

The per­former, born Robert Wil­liams, was sen­tenced to up to four years in state prison on Nov. 6 by Judge Genece Brink­ley for vi­o­lat­ing his pro­ba­tion from a 2008 gun and drug case af­ter two mi­nor ar­rests in New York and St. Louis.

Pro­test­ers chanted “F--- the judge” and sang Mill’s “Dreams and Night­mares.”

Mill’s lawyer Joe Ta­copina said he will file mo­tions to ask Brink­ley to re­cuse her­self and re­con­sider what he says is a harsh sen­tence. Mill is con­fined to his cell 23 hours a day in state prison in Camp Hill, Pa.

“If re­cent his­tory and (Brink­ley’s) pat­tern are con­sis­tent, both mo­tions are prob­a­bly a waste of the pa­per they are printed on,” Ta­copina said. “Af­ter that, we will go to higher courts.”

Mill (photo), who had been on pro­ba­tion for al­most a decade, was ar­rested in March af­ter he got into a fight in a St. Louis air­port.

In Au­gust, he was charged in New York with pop­ping wheel­ies on a dirt bike and fail­ing to wear a hel­met. The charges were dis­missed.

Brink­ley said the rap­per also failed a drug test and claimed he didn’t get her OK to leave Penn­syl­va­nia.

“I’ve been try­ing to help you since 2009,” Brink­ley told Mill in court re­cently. “You ba­si­cally thumbed your nose at me.” Clarise McCants, com­mu­nity jus­tice cam­paign di­rec­tor for Color of Change, a civil rights or­ga­ni­za­tion, said Mill’s case is just an ex­am­ple of what black peo­ple face in com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try. “It’s big­ger than Meek,” McCants said. “Ev­ery­body has some­body in their fam­ily that has been caught up in the pro­ba­tion or pa­role sys­tem.” At his sen­tenc­ing for the pro­ba­tion vi­o­la­tion, the pros­e­cu­tor and the pro­ba­tion of­fi­cer said Mill should not serve any jail time, but Brink­ley ig­nored them. “I’ve tried thou­sands of cases and it’s the first time in my life I have ever seen that hap­pen in a court­room,” Ta­copina said.

Ta­copina said the judge’s claim she was not no­ti­fied about Mill’s travel is false.

“Not only was she no­ti­fied, she ap­proved (the trips), and we showed emails in court to that ef­fect,” he said.

For­mer NBA great Julius Erv­ing, Ea­gles safety Mal­colm Jenk­ins, rap pro­ducer Rick Ross, Ea­gles de­fen­sive end Vinny Curry and other stars at­tended the rally.

Ta­copina has charged that Brink­ley was ro­man­ti­cally drawn to Mill’s celebrity sta­tus, and felt re­buffed by the rap­per.

Ta­copina al­leged that Brink­ley once asked the 29-year-old rap­per to re-record the Boyz II Men song "On Bended Knee," and con­clude the track with a trib­ute to her. Mill re­fused, think­ing it was a joke.

Brink­ley hasn’t re­sponded to the claims.

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