Meek Mill continues to deal with the ramifications of weapon and drug charges he caught way back in 2008. He's since violated his probation on six separate occasions, with the two most recent incidents happening in 2017. But what makes these latest "technical violations" different is that both the district attorney and the supervising probation officer suggested no jail time because the assault charge he caught at an airport in St. Louis and the reckless driving ticket he got for popping wheelies in the streets of New York were both dropped.
His attorney, Joe Tacopina, got on the phone with us Tuesday and was livid about the sentence that was handed down to his client yesterday. We asked Tacopina about Meek's complicated probation violation history, his confidence in successfully appealing this recent ruling, and Judge Genece Brinkley's "unprofessional" behavior. Check our candid conversation below.
Why do you think the judge's sentence is so unjust?
Anyone who is a part of the criminal justice system is outraged. When you have a case where the prosecuting attorney, district attorney, and the police officer both recommend no jail, no incarceration for what’s called technical violations of probation, and a judge disregards two people whose job it is to determine what sentence to recommend, someone violates probation. She disregards them and sentences Meek to two to four years? It's clearly unjust, because these are technical violations for two cases I would've dismissed.
Then she's cited things like a violation he didn't clear with her when he went to Atlanta for a rehab thing where she said he never got approved from her. Well, we produced a name now, yesterday that was said; she approved the trip to Atlanta. Then, the district attorney said, "Yes, that's right, you approved that." Then she said, "Well you're both wrong, I didn't get it." It's constant things like that, that trigger that thing with the mockery. When you add into the mix the whole notion that this judge does things that are nonjudicial, very unprofessional, very inappropriate for a judge to do to a defendant.
Are you referring to the Boyz II Men claim?
That's one of them, yeah. And that wasn't just a claim, it's a fact. Nicki Minaj was there with Meek when she asked him in the chambers to re-record the song "On Bended Knee," give a shout-out so to speak, to her, or attribute to her, mention her name in the song. He's a rapper, he thought it was a joke.
What else has she done besides that?
Basically, just that Meek leave Roc Nation as his management agency and go to a local Philadelphia manager who she had a relationship with, that she knew. That's her thought process, things like that, that judges have no business doing.
Look at the people up in this system that are not on Meek's side, even they acknowledge that this is ridiculous.
Do you think Meek not doing the things she suggested have anything to do with the sentencing?
Of course. Judges aren't supposed to be making personal requests of defendants who they're judging. So Meek denies both of those requests, now we have to wonder and guess if that has anything to do with the sentence she gave him yesterday? I think you have to wonder and guess that it did. The probation officer and the district attorney both said he doesn't deserve any jail time for these technical violations. Both cases were dismissed, but to her it doesn't matter.
The original case dates back to 2008.
Exactly, the original case was 2008. Who's on probation for 10 years? No one.
Is it because he kept violating?
Well, that's what she is saying, but these new violations are of a technical nature. He was under scrutiny like nobody else was. Last year, there was a supervising probation officer who testified that he thought Meek was compliant with probation and that the judge should consider dropping him from probation. And she found him on the record... she found the supervising probation officer—not a friend of Meek, but a probation supervisor—she found him increditable on the record. That should tell you a lot, right there.
What do you say to critics saying the situation is his fault because of the multiple violations?
No, no, no. The original situation was his fault and it goes back to 2008. He paid the consequences for that, he made a mistake, and he admitted and acknowledged it. But don't tell me it's his fault for having technical violations of probation. Everything he does, he has to report. Even if he has to play a concert, he has to get approval for that.
When the people who know the facts of this case, the people who want this case, like the prosecuting attorney and the police officer, those who deal with Meek everyday and deal with this case everyday, those are the ones that know more than anyone. And by the way, they're no friends of Meek Mill, the prosecutors aren't no friends of Meek Mill. When they say these are technical violations and they don't want any jail time, what more needs to be said? Forget what I say, I'm his lawyer. Look at the people up in this system that are not on Meek's side, even they acknowledge that this is ridiculous.
How much time is he realistically looking at then if you guys lose the appeal?
Realistically, he should be getting no time. We're going to appeal it and we're gonna pull out every stop we can to make sure that happens. He doesn't deserve to have any time on this ridiculous case, and we think that's going to happen.