Meek Mill’s recent imprisonment sparked widespread cries to free the Philly-born hip-hop star, but all the tweets in the world won’t do anything to get the rapper out of Camp Hill prison.
Something that might make a difference is Meek’s powerhouse defense attorney, Joe Tacopina, who asserted Thursday that his “top priority” is freeing the rapper.
“We are going to get him out,” said Tacopina, who said he is moving for the recusal of the judge and referring her to the judicial committee for disciplinary proceedings, as well as filing motions for reconsideration regarding Meek’s bail. “I’m very confident he will be out soon.”
That may be increasingly urgent, because on Thursday, TMZ broke the story that Meek’s legal team has filed papers seeking for him to be removed from solitary confinement in protective custody, saying he is a “victim of his celebrity” and could face psychological damage from ongoing isolation.
Meanwhile, a Roc Nation-sponsored bus circled Center City on Wednesday night, broadcasting the message “Stand with Meek Mill” and urging fans to sign the Justice4Meek.com petition.
Meek Mill, 31, born Robert Rihmeek Williams, remains on probation for a 2008 gun possession case. His original sentence came with five years of probation, but it was extended after he was found in 2014 by Judge Genece Brinkley to have violated his probation and was put into custody for five months.
Brinkley has declined to comment on any allegations against her.
But Tacopina claimed Brinkley has a vendetta against Meek. He argued in court papers it was sparked after she invited Meek and his then-girlfriend, hip-hop diva Nicki Minaj, into chambers, where she asked Meek to cover Boyz II Men’s classic “On Bended Knee,” a request Meek did not honor.
“It is a fact that a judge making personal requests of an individual who is a defendant before her is inappropriate judicial conduct,” Tacopina said.
Tacopina maintained that he believes Brinkley intended to punish Meek for not leaving his professional management team at Roc Nation (Jay-Z’s company) for the company of Philly-based Charlie Alston Mack (who manages Boyz II Men, among other artists).
“Eight times over a year and a half, she asked him to change his management to Charlie Mack,” Tacopina claimed. “This isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s one individual who acted very inappropriately.”
Rumors are also swirling about the case online, with Page Six and TMZ both reporting that the FBI is investigating Brinkley’s conduct. The judge is rumored to be seeking legal representation of her own.
While some in the community say Meek is responsible for his own actions, and deserved a two- to four-year sentence, Tacopina scoffed at the three “violations” Meek was found to have committed.
Dirtbiking in NYC? The charge was dismissed, and other males filmed biking at the time were not arrested, Tacopina said. Fighting in the St. Louis airport? Started by two over-aggressive fans, was considered self-defense and was ultimately dismissed as well, Tacopina said. Even testing positive for Percocet did not move prosecutors or probation officers to ask for Meek’s imprisonment, and Brinkley went against their recommendations in ordering the sentence.
“Where is the violation?” Tacopina asked. “This judge is really a pariah – someone who brings disrepute to the bench and someone who is not very well-regarded. There’s real internal outrage over what’s going on.”