Legal sniping rages on in Meek Mill case

Posted: August 03, 2014

Authorities have long monitored social media postings of criminals for incriminating comments and other clues.

Now one criminal - or at least his lawyers - have turned the tables.

Imprisoned Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill's lawyers on Friday renewed their legal campaign to get him paroled, criticizing a city prosecutor for boasting on Facebook about Mill's probation violation.

On Monday, Assistant District Attorney Noel Ann DeSantis responded to Mill's first parole petition in a court filing quoting pop music legend Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" to urge the 27-year-old Mill - whose real name is Robert Williams - to take responsibility for his conduct.

The next day a friend of the prosecutor posted a copy of a news article about her Man-in-the-Mirror filing on DeSantis' Facebook page, to which she replied: "Ah, never underestimate my passionate fearless self."

Williams' lawyers Dennis J. Cogan and Christopher Warren pounced.

They said it was "disconcerting" that DeSantis would use social media to "trumpet" her opinion about the way she handled the case while "lambasting Mr. Williams when he expresses his views in song lyrics and social media . . . she has to know that it works both ways."

The defense filing includes a copy of the Facebook page though the posting and comment have since been removed.

DeSantis declined comment but Tasha Jamerson, spokeswoman for District Attorney Seth Williams, said there was a "significant difference between a convicted felon posting photos of himself with guns and an innocuous statement on a personal Facebook page that contained nothing disparaging about [Williams] or his actions."

Jamerson called DeSantis' Facebook comment "merely an affirmation of the passion she brings to this work."

Most of Friday's defense filing focuses on what the lawyers say is erroneous information DeSantis gave Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley - information they blame for her July 11 decision imprisoning Mill for three to six months for violating probation in a 2009 drug and gun case.

Cogan and Warren declined further comment on their latest filing, which again calls for Williams' immediate parole, warning his imprisonment imperils the Sept. 9 release of his next album.

"With each passing day, the odds become greater and greater that [Williams'] imprisonment is going to bring the release of his upcoming album to a screeching halt," the lawyers wrote. "That would harm not only Mr. Williams and his family but countless others who are struggling to survive right this very minute."

jslobodzian@phillynews.com

215-854-2985 @joeslobo

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