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Meek Mill deserves a new, unbiased trial, Philadelphia district attorney says

Rapper Meek Mill on criminal justice reform

Philadelphia's top prosecutor called for a new trial and judge for rapper Meek Mill on Wednesday. District Attorney Larry Krasner said the former judge who sentenced the rapper "abused its discretion" and has been biased against him.

The district Attorney's office filed a brief questioning Common Pleas Court Judge Genece Brinkley's "impartiality," citing her decision to check in on Meek 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 said. 

Krasner said Meek Mill, 32, should get a new trial before a different judge and said the court "abused its discretion when it imposed" the sentence. 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 Meek Mill during proceedings.

Meek Mill
Meek Mill seen April 2, 2019. AP

Meek 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.

Shortly after his release, Meek Mill told "CBS This Morning" that many people of color face similar legal hardships throughout the country.

"This happens to minorities on a daily basis where they don't have a voice," the rapper said, "and I just came from – it's almost like cities…inside prisons where people have no contact with the world."

He believes it was his celebrity status that hastened his release from prison. "I'm just lucky to have people of power and much influence to stand behind me and speak up," he said.

Meek 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.