Meek Mill‘s legal team is requesting the rapper be released from jail on bond due to an allegedly false testimony by a Philadelphia police officer in his 2008 trial.
Mill — who’s real name is Robert Michael — was arrested in 2007 on drug dealing and gun possession charges and sentenced to 11-23 months in jail. Since then, he has had numerous issues with parole violations, the most recent of which landed him in state prison for 2-4 years last November, sparking protests and other showings of support while his attorneys have sought to appeal the ruling.
On Wednesday (Feb. 14), Mill’s attorneys filed a Post-Conviction Relief Act petition, calling into question his original arrest since an investigative report by the Philadelphia Inquirer uncovered that the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has for months maintained a secret list of suspect police officers who could not be considered credible witnesses. Officer Reginald Graham was among those listed in the article and now Mill’s team is calling foul over his testimony as the sole witness during the rapper’s 2008 trial.
As well, the petition cites sworn affidavits by two former Philadelphia police officers issued to a licensed private investigator earlier this month — further calling into question Graham’s credibility.
In one, Jerold Gibson stated he was present at Mill’s 2007 arrest and contradicted several material facts from Graham’s testimony at trial. According to Gibson, Mill never pointed a gun at Graham or anyone else and Graham only claimed that Mill did so once he was in custody. As well, Gibson said that Mill took his gun out of his waistband and discarded it, officers did not need to yell for him to “drop the gun,” Graham never took cover behind a parked van and Mill never tried to flee — all of which aligned with Mill’s testimony and were contrary to Graham’s own claims in court.
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Walker’s affidavit largely corroborates Gibson’s statements based on experience working in the narcotics field unit with Graham from 2003 to 2005 or 2006 and then again in 2012. According to Walker, among numerous other misdeeds, Gibson frequently misused confidential informants, fabricated the alleged probable cause for search warrants and lied about the justification for warrantless searches.
Most notably, at Mill’s 2008 trial, Graham testified to recovering two packets of alleged crack cocaine from a criminal informant who allegedly purchased them from Mill, but no property receipt or lab report for those packets was offered in evidence at trial — much less the alleged packets themselves. (The petition calls this a “glaring omission” that Mill’s original trial counsel “failed to note and did not mention in arguing for a judgment of acquittal.”)
Walker said that based on his professional experience and, in particular, working with Graham, the preliminary arrest report prepared and filed by Graham in Mill’s case “bears the hallmarks of a fraudulent affidavit, written to manufacture probable cause for the search warrant.” Supporting this conclusion, he cited several specific details that seemed questionable to him, including the claim that Mill pointed a gun at the officers who approached to arrest him — as Graham had testified and Mill denied in trial.
With this newly discovered evidence brought forth by Mill’s team, his attorneys are seeking the rapper’s release on bond and a new trial, if the charges are not voluntarily withdrawn or dismissed.
This article originally appeared in Billboard.