State Superior Court judges did not render a ruling on a possible new trial for Meek Mill on Tuesday, but in a rare twist, the attorneys for the Philadelphia-born rapper and the Commonwealth agreed he should get one because of a discredited lone witness.
Not long after Mill, whose real name is Robert Rameek Williams, entered the court room in a black suit, his lawyers argued that a 2017 conviction should be vacated and that a new trial, with a new judge, should occur.
Defense attorney Kim Watterson argued that Reginald Graham, the officer who arrested Mill in the 2007 drug and gun case and the lone witness in Mill's trial, had stolen money in a drug bust two years prior to the arrest and lied to the FBI about it.
Graham had testified at Mill's trial that the then 19-year-old pointed a gun at him during the arrest outside his Southwest Philadelphia home. Williams has denied point a gun at police.
Because Graham has been discredited once and his testimony differs from Mill's, Watterson said, “We are seeking to have that ruling vacated and requesting a new trial."
Commonwealth lawyer Paul George referred to Graham as “the discredited officer” multiple times during the six minutes he spoke. And in his opening, George asked the court to grant relief "in the form of a new trial.”
President Judge Jack A. Panella, Judge Judith Olson and Judge Kate Ford Elliot heard the arguments. They did not indicate when they will issue a ruling.
Mill nor his lawyers spoke after the hearing. However, Van Jones, CEO of the REFORM Alliance (of which Mill is a co-chairman) and a CNN analyst, spoke excitedly about the hearing.
“We are one step closer to justice. This hearing was an extraordinary moment where you had attorneys on both sides saying that a new trial should go forward,” Jones said. “Meek Mill should have never been convicted in the first place. He was convicted on the testimony of a disgraced and discredited police officer. That was made clear in this courtroom today.”
Mill was placed on probation and remained there for a decade as a result of the 2007 case. Mill has frequently tangled with Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley over the terms of his parole, especially over reporting requirements and travel rules that he says conflicts with his music career.
Mill violated his parole five times; in 2017, Brinkley sentenced Mill to 2 to 4 years in prison for those violations.
Mill spent about four months in prison before he was released in 2018 after a ruling from the state Supreme Court.
Brinkley, who Mill's attorneys want removed from the case, denied his appeal for a new trial under the Post Conviction Relief Act.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.