A Pennsylvania appeals court panel has ruled in unanimous favor of Rapper Meek Mill, clearing him of the gun conviction that embroiled him in the U.S. prison system for over a decade of his young life. Meek, now 32 years old, will be granted a retrial where he is expected to be exculpated by the courts of the false charges leveled against him by Reginald Graham, a former Philadelphia Police officer.
“We conclude the after-discovered evidence is of such a strong nature and character that a different verdict will likely result at a retrial,” the three-judge panel concluded, having determined that Graham — who was the sole witness to testify against Meek — had provided false testimony at the original trail. Graham had accused the rapper of pulling a gun on him during an arrest, a contention that has since been contradicted by a fellow officer who was also at the scene. (By the way, according to AP News, Graham left the force a few years ago after lying about stealing money from the department.)
NEW: @MeekMill's decade-old conviction in a drug and gun case has been overturned and he's been granted a new trial.@GayleKing speaks with Jay-Z and Mill about his newly-launched label #DreamChasers, in partnership with @RocNation. Watch on @CBS Thursday morning. pic.twitter.com/o2kBvieRxa
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) July 24, 2019
Upon learning of the news, Meek released a statement through REFORM Alliance to express his gratitude. “I’d like to thank the Pennsylvania Superior Court for overturning my conviction and granting me a new trial,” he said. “The past 11 years have been mentally and emotionally challenging, but I’m glad that justice prevailed and my clean record has been restored.” Meek will likely receive a “not guilty” verdict at the new trial.
Having served time for a crime he did not commit, the rapper has since become a vocal advocate for justice reform, working alongside Jay-Z, Van Jones, Robert Smith (the billionaire who offered to pay off student loans at Morehouse, not the British musician) and 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin as part of the REFORM Alliance; basically, the ten partners of the Reform Alliance are the Avengers of prison reform, leveraging their experience, influence, and high-profile positions to effect positive change in the justice system.
Michael Rubin, the co-owner of the 76ers, said of his colleague and friend, “Time after time, I’ve watched the criminal justice system railroad Meek, but through it all, he’s handled this adversity with extraordinary strength and poise. But the fight isn’t over — there are still millions of people unfairly trapped in the legal system.” He emphasized the task that still looms ahead of REFORM Alliance as they seek transformative justice.
In addition to his newfound liberation, Meek got another piece of good news today to lift his spirit: Fellow REFORM Alliance member Jay-Z has made him the president of Dream Chasers Records. Meek shared his joy and disbelief on Twitter. “I’m not on probation right now…new label deal with jay z!!! Today was lit already “wtf GOD” you be acting a fool.”