Philly rapper Meek Mill out on bail, flies to Sixers game

Rapper Meek Mill comes out to ring the ceremonial Liberty Bell replica before Tuesday’s first-round NBA playoff game in Philadelphia Tuesday night. (Chris Szagola/AP)

Rapper Meek Mill comes out to ring the ceremonial Liberty Bell replica before Tuesday’s first-round NBA playoff game in Philadelphia Tuesday night. (Chris Szagola/AP)

Updated: 10 p.m.

Rapper Meek Mill walked out of prison Tuesday after Pennsylvania’s highest court ordered him freed while he appeals decade-old gun and drug convictions.

Following a five-month campaign by his supporters to get him out, the state Supreme Court directed a Philadelphia judge who had jailed him to immediately issue an order releasing him on unsecured bail.

Mill was sentenced in November to two to four years in prison for probation violations.

He was taken from the prison by helicopter to Philadelphia, where he rang the ceremonial bell at the start of Game 5 of the Philadelphia 76ers-Miami Heat playoff series.

“Welcome home Meek Mill,” said the game announcer to the rapper, who was sitting courtside next to actor Kevin Hart and Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin.

Before the game, Mill visited privately with the Sixers in their locker room.

A team of lawyers and public relations consultants had waged an all-out battle to get him freed, leveling fierce criticism at the judge as a stream of high-powered figures and celebrities visited him in jail outside Philadelphia just hours before the Supreme Court ruling.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Mill said in a tweet that “the past five months have been a nightmare.”

Mill also expressed gratitude to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.

“As we have said all along, Meek was unjustly convicted and should not have spent a single day in jail,” said Mill’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina in a statement.

While the high court’s order denied Mill’s attorneys’ request to reassign his case to another judge, Tacopina praised the justices for noting that the presiding judge, Genece Brinkley could recuse herself. Mill’s legal team has accused Brinkley of mishandling the case and repeatedly asked her to step aside.

“We are also pleased that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has noted that Judge Brinkley may opt to remove herself from presiding over any further proceedings in Meek’s case in the interests of justice,” Tacopina said. “Meek is excited to be reunited with his family, and we, along with Meek, intend to continue to shine the light on a justice system in need of reform to prevent any other citizen from being put through what Meek has endured.”

Mill’s sentence sparked months of public outrage from those who say his case exposes deep problems in Philadelphia’s — and the nation’s — criminal justice system.

The #FreeMeekMill campaign has also led to athletes, sports executives, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, and most recently this afternoon, comedian Kevin Hart visiting Mill in prison.



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Aaron Moselle and Marilyn D’Angelo contributed reporting.

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