Judge: Meek Mill must stay behind bars

Posted: August 20, 2014

PHILLY-BORN rapper Meek Mill, aided by three lawyers and a courtroom full of supporters, yesterday failed to persuade a judge to release him from jail early.

That means the summertime blues will continue for the "Amen" rapper, who was sentenced July 11 to serve three to six months in jail for violating terms of his probation, which stems from a 2008 drug-and-gun conviction.

Not only did Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley reject every argument proffered on behalf of the rapper born Robert Williams, she and his lead attorney got into a testy exchange over the lawyer's belief that the judge was being disrespectful and rushing him along so that she could officiate at a wedding.

"I take offense to your suggestion on the record that I have not been respectful to you," Brinkley told the lawyer, Dennis Cogan.

Cogan, who accused Brinkley of rolling her eyes at him and of watching the clock, said an appeal was being filed asking the state Supreme Court to take jurisdiction of the case.

The only victory scored by Mill, 27, and his legal team was Brinkley granting their request that he be released from protective custody in jail so that he can take parenting, anger-management and drug-and-alcohol classes, which she ordered yesterday.

Brinkley warned that if anything happened to the rapper in the jail's general population, his lawyers would be responsible, and that if he failed to complete the classes, he would have to serve out his entire six-month sentence.

The earliest Mill can be released is Oct. 11, unless the Supreme Court overturns the judge's ruling.

Brinkley found Mill in technical violation of his probation in July for failing to give his probation officer a working phone number, failing to get court permission to travel out of town, being combative and disrespectful to probation-office staffers and being photographed holding a gun, among other violations.

Cogan yesterday argued that the gun was a prop for a music video, and disputed the other violations or contended that they did not rise to the level of jailing Mill.

He said the judge had failed to give proper legal notice or to hold the two required hearings prior to revoking probation.

"There was no technical violation of anything. He didn't have a gun, he didn't have any illegal substances," said Cogan, who added that his client has suffered financially and that the release next month of his new album has been canceled.

Assistant District Attorney Noel Ann DeSantis said the entertainer "put himself in prison" because "he chooses not to grow up."

Regarding the packed courtroom - which included Mill's former manager Charlie Mack - DeSantis said: "It is disgraceful that he cannot get himself together for this court or a court full of people."

Mill, in the same white dress shirt and black jeans he wore when taken into custody in July, stood to apologize for the rude rant he had unleashed on Twitter about DeSantis and his probation officer in May.

"I said some things that you might not like, but I am here to apologize," he said. "I just want to get back to work and support my family."

Brinkley affirmed her jail sentence and said she would not release Mill as long as he continues "thumbing his nose at me every time I turn around."

On Twitter: @MensahDean

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