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Pennsylvania Governor Supports Meek Mill's Release From Prison

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) -- Jailed rapper Meek Mill is garnering support from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. The governor says he supports Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner's position of being unopposed to Mill's release while he appeals a probation violation sentence.

"I support D.A. Larry Krasner's position in the case of Robert Williams (Meek Mill). Our criminal justice system is in need of repair. That's why my admin has made efforts to invest in programs that divert individuals from the system, improve public safety, and promote fairness," Wolf tweeted on Friday.

Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, was sentenced in November to two to four years in prison for violating probation on a roughly decade-old gun and drug case.

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"We are grateful for the Governor's support of Meek Mill and this is further indication that Meek should not spend another minute in jail. Following the District Attorney's response to our filing, we immediately wrote to Judge Genece Brinkley and she has yet to respond. Never in my career have I ever seen a Governor and District Attorney publicly state that a defendant should be granted bail, yet Meek still remains wrongfully imprisoned," said Joe Tacopina, the hip-hop artist's attorney.

Last week, the district attorney's office submitted a filing to Mill's lawyers stating that "there is a strong showing of likelihood" of his conviction being reversed, in whole or in part.

Krasner also didn't oppose the rapper's move for bail, saying it's now in the hands of Judge Genece Brinkley, who put Mill behind bars for violating probation, going against the prosecutor's suggestion.

"We should not presume or suggest what this judge should do or not do here," Krasner said.

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Prosecutors have confirmed that the arresting officer -- retired Philadelphia Police Officer Reginald Graham --  was among those prosecutors from the previous administration tried to keep off the witness stand because of credibility questions. They cited accusations against him by other officers in saying there was "a strong showing of likelihood" of the conviction "being reversed (in whole or in part)."

The district attorney's office said its policy was not to request more than six to 12 months for technical violations of probation and parole, and it was unlikely that the appeal could be decided within six months.

Mill has spent more than two years in custody or on house arrest, and if the conviction is reversed there is a risk of an unjust or disproportionate sentence having been served and "that risk increases as long as (Mill) remains in custody," the office said.

Brinkley, who will decide whether Mill is freed, has been the subject of harsh criticism from Mill's attorneys, who have asked her to recuse herself from the case. The judge has hired an attorney who accuses Mill's legal team of making baseless claims to the media about the judge's personal and professional conduct.

Mill remains in a Chester prison.

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Brinkley has scheduled a hearing for Mill's appeal for April 16.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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