Five months after being sentenced to prison for probation violations, hip-hop artist Meek Mill walked out of jail Tuesday and soon found himself seated on a helicopter headed to watch the Philadelphia 76ers clinch its NBA playoff series with a 104-91 win against the Miami Heat.
High-profile celebrities and fans have shown an outpouring of support for the Philadelphia rapper, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, since his incarceration in November. Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Genece Brinkley sentenced Mill to two to four years for violating his probation stemming from 2007 gun and drug charges.
How did he get released?
Mill's lawyers filed a bail motion last week that led to the decision to release him Tuesday.
The Philadelphia district attorney's office said the court has "questions about the credibility" of the arresting officer who has since retired. The other officer involved in the case has lied under oath at Mill's trial in 2008, according to NBC News.
Philadelphia prosecutors told a judge last week that they support a new trial for the decade-old charges involving officers suspected of framing witnesses and lying in court, NBC News reported.
"As our office has made clear in recent court filings, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision on Meek Mill being released on bail is consistent with the position of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office," prosecutors said, according to NBC News.
Michael Rubin, co-owner of the Sixers and one of Mill's greatest supporters, tweeted Tuesday that he was picking up the 30-year-old from prison.
"You know, Meek told me every day we talked, 'I just dream about the heli picking me up,'" Rubin said. "He said, 'That's what I want.' So when they released him, we said the helicopter's gonna pick you up."
What did Mill say?
The rapper posted a series of tweets thanking his supporters after his release.
"I’d like to thank God, my family, and all my public advocates for their love, support and encouragement during this difficult time. While the past five months have been a nightmare, the prayers, visits, calls, letters and rallies have helped me stay positive."
I’d like to thank God, my family, and all my public advocates for their love, support and encouragement during this… https://t.co/2cQXcKgip7— Meek Mill (@Meek Mill)1524600350.0
"To the Philly District Attorney’s office, I’m grateful for your commitment to justice. I understand that many people of color across the country don’t have that luxury and I plan to use my platform to shine a light on those issues."
To the Philly District Attorney’s office, I’m grateful for your commitment to justice. I understand that many peopl… https://t.co/nKUemVQLWJ— Meek Mill (@Meek Mill)1524600353.0
"In the meantime, I plan to work closely with unwarranted conviction and look forward to reuniting with my family and resuming my music career."
In the meantime, I plan to work closely with my legal team to overturn this unwarranted conviction and look forward… https://t.co/TVE1J7AD4Z— Meek Mill (@Meek Mill)1524600382.0
What did Mill's lawyer say?
Attorney Joe Tacopina said he would be seeking permanent freedom for the artist who was "unjustly convicted."
"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," he said.
How did people react to Mill at the game?
Mill, who sat courtside with Rubin and comedian Kevin Hart, showed up wearing a Joel Embiid jersey and received a standing ovation when he rang the ceremonial Liberty Bell before tip-off.
"I was just excited that he got to witness this because he's always represented the city, and he loved this city so much," 76ers center Joel Embiid told ESPN.